The Pleasanton City Council spoke highly Tuesday about a proposed new labor agreement with the police union, a deal highlighted by wage increases for city police officers and sergeants in each of the next three years.
The tentative agreement with the Pleasanton Police Officers Association (PPOA), which would end nearly nine months of negotiations, also includes higher pension and medical contributions from certain police officers, among other provisions.
“When all is said and done, and we have this win-win, it’s wonderful. We appreciate the efforts on all sides,” Vice Mayor Jerry Pentin said from the council dais in the Pleasanton Civic Center.
The council typically reviews major labor deals in a two-step process, which for the PPOA contract began with an initial discussion Tuesday night in the council chamber. The agreement is scheduled to return for final approval Oct. 17.
The union, which represents all 60 sworn police officers and 13 police sergeants in the Pleasanton Police Department, already ratified the agreement. Members voted 51-1 in favor of approval, according to Officer Ken McNeill, PPOA’s president.
McNeill said this year’s negotiations with the city’s bargaining team weren’t easy, calling them “arduous, and often frustrating.”
“The positive is, that despite the challenging journey, today we have come to a fair and reasonable and well-received tentative agreement that recognizes not only the value of our officers but the city’s fiscal responsibility to our Pleasanton residents and businesses,” he told the council.
City and union negotiators began their talks in January, with the PPOA contract set to expire at the end of May. With no deal reached by that deadline, PPOA members have been working without a contract since June 1.
The two sides recently came to terms on a tentative agreement to end the lengthy negotiations, according to Debra Gill, the city’s director of human resources and labor relations.
Gill said the proposal meets city officials’ main goals for the negotiations: “providing a reasonable cost-of-living adjustment to employees, increasing employees’ contributions to PERS pensions and increasing employees’ contribution to medical premiums.”
The new memorandum of understanding (MOU), which would run through May 31, 2020, would see PPOA members receive a 3.5% raise effective upon MOU adoption and then 3% raises in June 2018 and June 2019.
The police officers' previous contract saw them receive three separate 3% raises between January 2015 and June 2016, Gill said.
The new deal also includes a one-time stipend of $2,000 per police officer and sergeant in recognition of each of them completing crisis intervention training.
As for pensions, all PPOA members already in the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) program, referred to as "classic members," will see their employee contribution increase 1.5% to 12% overall effective June 2, 2018. New members' contributions will remain at 11.5%.
The contract would also double the minimum employee contribution toward medical premiums for officers with family coverage to $50 per month effective January 2019.
Other highlights of the deal include that PPOA members, who typically receive 80 hours of paid time off each year but were scheduled to receive only 60 hours for 2017, would be given the full 80 hours retroactive for this year.
The contract would also stipulate a minimum call back time of four hours for special events, mandatory meetings and assigned work outside shift, and it would eliminate longevity requirements for education and Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) pay incentives.
And a joint committee of PPOA and police management would be created to discuss diversity, personal appearance, grooming standards and incentivizing special assignments, with the recommendations from this group — non-binding — to be presented to negotiating teams during the next round of bargaining talks.
In all, the new police union MOU is estimated to cost $1.9 million through fiscal year 2019-20, of which $432,000 will be incurred this year and covered through the general fund contingency account, Gill said.
The four council members, with Councilwoman Kathy Narum absent, each gave initial endorsements of the proposed MOU and offered their support for Pleasanton’s police officers.
“Many people believe this is a great town. And I share that belief, and one of the reasons is our police department. So I’m really happy this came together the way it did,” Councilman Arne Olson said. “Keep up the good work.”