SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – San Jose city officials are trying to renege on a tentative settlement with the San Jose Police Officers’ Association on a pension reform measure, a union spokesman alleged Wednesday.
Officials from the city attorney’s office met with the police union on Tuesday and are trying to back out of the framework of the deal reached last month, union spokesman Tom Saggau said.
City spokesman David Vossbrink refuted the union’s claim. He said both sides are close to resolving the matter and that no one is changing the deal.
“There remain important process issues that need to be clarified legally so that we can get the implementation rolling. We’re optimistic we can sort the process matters out very soon,” Vossbrink said in an email.
The City Council was scheduled to vote on the agreement during Tuesday’s regular meeting, but the item was deferred to deal with “technical matters,” Vossbrink said.
Measure B was passed by voters in June 2012 to make changes to city employee pension plans, leading the employees’ labor unions to file lawsuits, including one by the SJPOA and the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 230.
In December 2013, a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge ruled against certain parts of the measure, saying San Jose couldn’t increase employee pension contributions and cut contracted cost-of-living increases, but could lower employee pay for their retirement plans.
The city and both unions have since been in negotiation talks to settle the case.
The firefighters’ union has ratified the Measure B agreement reached July 15, but it is taking longer for the SJPOA to ratify it because the police union is simultaneously working on a labor contract with the city, Vossbrink said.
The SJPOA’s current contract expires in December.
Negotiators have brought up many issues during the settlement
talks including pay, working conditions and pension impacts, along with saving taxpayers money and keeping the city competitive as an employer, Vossbrink said.
On Tuesday, city officials brought a wage proposal that the union’s board agreed to, Saggau said.
The wage proposal would give employees a 13 percent pay raise over one year—a 5 percent one-time, non-pensionable bonus split between September and December, a 4 percent increase in January and a 4 percent increase in July, according to Saggau.
The proposal is being presented to the union’s membership today, Saggau said.
The City Council is scheduled to meet Friday in a special closed session on labor relations.
If the City Council comes out of the meeting without changes to the Measure B tentative agreement, the agreement will then go to the union for a vote starting Friday evening and through the weekend, Saggau said.
If the union approves the agreement, it will be taken to the City Council for a final vote.
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