http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2013/06/07/city-approves-3-year-agreement-with-employee-union


Pleasanton Weekly

News - June 7, 2013

City approves 3-year agreement with employee union

Council postpones again final action on hillside development ordinance

by Jeb Bing

The Pleasanton City Council on Tuesday night ratified a new three-year agreement with its city employee union, a move that by the end of the year will have all employees contributing at least 8% of their wages toward pension benefits.

The agreement with the union representing 220 regular city employees will raise individual pension contributions and reduce floating holiday hours while also granting modest wage increases over the life of the new contract, the first pay increase these employees have had in three years.

Overall, City Manager Nelson Fialho told the council, the new agreement conforms to sweeping pension changes that are already in place for unionized police and firefighters and those made last year by Gov. Jerry Brown that reformed pension benefits for public employees hired after last Jan. 1.

That change raised the retirement ages from 55 to 67 and trims their pension benefit from 2.7% to 2.5%.

Additionally, for those employees hired after Jan 1, the city changed retirement medical benefits from two-party coverage to one-party coverage, with an additional sunset at age 65 when the employee becomes eligible for Medicare.

Also, in a meeting that lasted past 11 p.m., the council tabled any further consideration of final action on an ordinance restricting residential and commercial development on Pleasanton hillsides. That decision came on the advice of City Attorney Jonathan Lowell who said the ordinance would be considered at a later date after the council reviews threats of litigation over the measure.

Attorneys from Oakland and San Francisco, who say they represent Pleasanton residents, want the original Measure PP ordinance to be reevaluated because of changes made by city staff and others since it was approved by voters in 2008.

The council also sent back to its Historic Preservation Task Force comments on a "check in" plan the group presented Tuesday night that suggested establishing an official "Historic District" in and around downtown Pleasanton.

The council's action came after a two-hour-long public hearing where 24 speakers voiced their opinions on the plan, with some on the task force and others who live in the affected area praising the plan or complaining that it would add more regulations to those seeking to build or expand their homes and businesses in the area.

Most adamant was Brad Hirst, who owns Equity Enterprises in Pleasanton. He said downtown businesses continue to face economic challenges as they recover from the recent recession and that new rules and regulations proposed by the Historic Preservation Task Force could adversely affect that recovery.

In other action, the council approved a two-year annual work plan that prioritizes proposed capital improvement projects with the continued development of more sports fields and other amenities on the city-owned Bernal Community Park topping the list.

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