Labor Agreements Move to City Council for Final Approval

San Jose has reached multi-year agreements with all but one of its 11 employee unions, the city announced at the end of last week.

The contracts, which come up for City Council approval Tuesday and have yet to be ratified by union members, would restore salaries cut during times of economic hardship.

Only the police union, whose contract expires at the end of December, remains in talks about pay and benefits. The Police Officers Association represents 1,000 officers in the San Jose Police Department and blames the city's pension reforms for thinning the ranks. POA leaders urged the city to act before the July recess or risk losing more officer, according to the Mercury News. 

The remaining 10 union agreements coming to a council vote this week represent some 4,300 of the city's 5,300 workers.

Most of the terms, reached after months of negotiation, provide for 3-percent pay raises and 1-percent signing bonuses. Six unions that shook hands over a deal last week include: the Association of Building, Mechanical and Electrical Inspectors, Association of Legal Professionals, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 332, Association of Engineers and Architects, City Association of Management Personnel and Association of Maintenance and Supervisory Personnel.

A week prior, the city agreed to 14 percent in ongoing pay raises for the 671 firefighters in the San Jose Fire Fighters IAFF Local 230—the first salary increase for the San Jose Fire Department since 2008. The three-year contract also includes a 2 percent non-pensionable lump-sum bonus and language that would protect minimum staffing levels and provide for an organizational review of the department.

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 3, Municipal Employees' Federation and Confidential Employees' Organization signed that same week ending June 12.

All city employees took a 10 percent pay cut in 2010, as the city dealt with critical funding shortfalls from widespread economic recession coupled with soaring retirement costs. Hundreds of employees were laid off. Two years later, voters passed citywide pension reforms that dialed down pension and disability benefits and prompted a years-long legal battle with its labor unions.

Since that time, police have seen 7 percent of their pay restored, with another 3 percent coming next month. But POA leaders note that dozens of officers have left the city since the start of the year, with more expected to part ways by the end of the year.

But city officials have said it seems unlikely that the police will come to an agreement before the end of the fiscal year June 30.

"We are pleased the leadership of [San Jose's employee unions] came to the table prepared to find a way to improve both wages and working conditions for their members, but to do so within our means," Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a statement Friday. "This means we've reached negotiated contracts with 10 of our 11 unions covering the next fiscal years, and look forward to reaching an agreement on the last one to go beyond this year. While our goals include restoring services to our residents, we look forward to restoring wages responsibly to our employees as well."

More from the San Jose City Council agenda for June 23, 2015:

WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. >Police will get $2.6 million in new laptops and mobile data technology for the first time in six years—a much needed upgrade after repeated system failures have hindered officers in emergency situations

    I got into a real pissing match with someone here on SJI for saying that 6 year old computers at the registrars of voters getting replaced was a no-brainer. SJI sort of slanted the story as the expenditure was unnecessary. BS. I’ve found that there is a segment of the population that thinks computers are a “Once in a lifetime” purchase. Meh moving on.

    >The city will allocate another $650,000 to the Downtown Street Team, which provides job training and housing placement for homeless people.

    A Japanese friend of mine really has me sold on the Japanese/Tokyo solution to housing in San Jose. Build it smaller. Capsule/Pod hotels. Tiny houses don’t scale well, but building a larger structure with smaller living spaces does make the $$$ bite less painful.

    >Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio is still trying to get the city to compensate him for a $225 radar gun he bought for his constituents.

    Pay him back. Either that or the city should allocate the gun to a department that uses it and pay him back. It was a worthwhile purchase for the project he was working on.

    >Looks like the mayor will get an annual salary increase from $114,000 to $125,000, while council members’ pay will bump up from $81,000 to $92,000. And monthly vehicle compensation will go from $350 to $500.

    You know what kind of a look my CEO would give us employees if we went up to him and said, “We voted ourselves a raise?” Same one the taxpayers are giving you, or the same one Spock would give.

  2. Firefighters got a 14% pay raise. Wow SJI just more of your misinformation. Put a little effort into your “reporting”…Firefighters are finally getting back their 10% that was taken from them years ago. Now its finally coming back to them in small increments spread out over 3 years! SMH With another 4% sprinkled in as non pensionable. I can’t imagine how this is any kind of a deal for the firefighters. When you work for a city government like SJ you take whatever crumbs are available. Now with Measure V and W the tax payers really get to shove it to the public sector “trough feeders” (as the hater love to spew)… Maybe SJI can even quote the Murk article citing 961 cops still ! I can’t stop laughing.

    • Because the hard way has turned out great thus far…. ?

      If you call a failed ballot measure (it did not and will not accomplish its major intended goal to increase employee funded pension contributions) that spawned the exodus of nearly 700 police officers in a matter of 4 years anything close to “successful”, you’re delusional.

      The fact that SJPD can hardly recruit anyone to fill its academies is indicative of how poor the benefits in Tier 2 are. Combine this with the fact many of these new officers leave shortly after graduating the academy…

      The current and forecasted rate of retirement coupled with the unabated resignations, will leave the department with just under 800 sworn officers by the end of 2015…

      Now, Sam, Duenas, and (some of) the city council realize this cannot and currently IS NOT working. Prior to being ousted for having a backbone and common sense, Ed Shikada also conveyed this to the city council. Measure B and its effects will continue to ripple through the water and teach this city a very tough lesson for the next few decades, with more unforseen consequences we have not even experienced yet… Can you say “multi million dollar civil lawsuit settlements”, “the nations highest insurance rates”? Just ask residents of Evergreen or Almaden how safe they feel leaving their homes unattended when they leave to work…

      Bottom line is, Sam needs the police for his grand plan. There’s no way he’s going to get people who can afford to move into all of these newly built high rises in DTSJ without an adequately staffed police department. He will also not be able to execute his (and Carl Guardino’s) plans to gentrify DTSJ at large without having a police force that can clean up the core and entice investors & families to purchase real estate. If Sam & Carl have their way, the Naglee Park neighborhood will not remain the only anomaly for much longer here.. BUT, they need public safety before that can happen.

  3. I have read SJI for years and this is my first post. I just want to try and set the record straight and give you some real numbers so you can try and understand why officers are telling you that they are so short handed and overworked. Please absorb these numbers and try to contemplate how the PD is staying afloat, because it is truly in crisis. This is not a political rant, it is just the hard numbers. The police are complaining because they can see what is happening to their once formidable department and you, the readers and residents, need to try and understand it too. The officers are living its decimation every day and you need to be exposed to it as well.

    Here are the most recent numbers taken form the Chiefs office memo earlier last week. I am sure you can confirm them if you care to call and inquire. This is where the rubber meets the road…

    SJPD is down to 846 active full time street ready officers. This is the number of ALL working police officers. They are assigned to patrol, detective bureau, special operations, supervisors, command officers and Chief officers. Let me break it down a little further for you and how this translates to the general public and the services the PD can actually provide.

    This number includes 34 academy recruits which are still in the academy. They are not out responding to calls for service and are essentially of no help to anyone, yet. They are still in training. That leaves 812 officers that can respond to calls for service and/or assist the public.

    Of those 812, there are APPROXIMATELY 150 Sergeants, 45 Lieutenants, 8 Captains and 6 Chief officers. These police officers generally do not answer calls for service, actively conduct investigations or make arrests. Although some do, the vast majority of them do not, they are in a supervisory or administrative role which is becoming more vital in these difficult times.

    This takes another 209 police officers out of the equation of those who do actually answer calls, investigate crime and make arrests. This leaves 603 police officers that are actually out handling the business of policing this city.

    Of those 603, APPROXIMATELY 490 of those officers are assigned to patrol duties. (I believe to fully staff patrol the number is 593)

    That leaves 113 to perform all the other duties that are left over including, the detective bureau (Homicide, Robbery, Assaults, Sex Crimes, Burglary, Fraud, Missing Persons, Juvenile Crimes, Gang Investigations, Narcotics and Intelligence) and special operations (MERGE, K9, Bomb Squad, METRO, Motors) That is 17 units. 103 divided by 17 equals or averages just over 6 persons per unit. (Remember we had almost 50 Motor officers at one time and 20 plus MERGE officers etc.)

    These numbers most likely will be disputed and torn apart by the bloggers who do that for a living. I am not a blogger. I am a cop who lives this every day. My only agenda is to try and give you a glimpse into what the citizens of SJ are actually facing. So when you call the police because you are in a domestic violence situation, your child is missing, your house was broken into and your belongings taken, your car stolen or there is a loud party and fireworks exploding on your street, this is why the police can’t respond in a timely manner.

    As bad as this is, it can and will be getting worse. I cant tell you how many officers are testing for other agencies, retiring early, retiring medically or leaving for another career. I hear new stories everyday. We lost 19 people in the last few weeks. A lieutenant, 2 sergeants and a slew of officers just left. Didn’t retire, they left.

    These numbers are APPROXIMATE and are subject to change weekly. But my intention is not to confuse or mislead, but to inform and educate. Please don’t attack the messenger as I am not planning to battle this out on this site or anywhere else. Take it with a grain of salt, do your own research and with the intention in which it was delivered, as a message of concern and hope that you will see how desperate the situation truly is.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it will let you understand what is actually taking place at SJPD.

    • Spot on. I’m leaving on July 18. No one from City Hall,HR, Mayors Office, City Council, Employee Relations or SJPD Chiefs Office called me, emailed me, tracked me down, etc., to ask me why I’m leaving or if I will consider staying longer. Liccardo said he doesn’t want to lose the best or the brightest, but his actions speak differently. With 20 years experience I’m finally done, had enough of the bull crap that’s been dished out. Good by San Jose !!!

    • Lot of focus on the problems of police hiring and retention, which everyone acknowledges. But what are your solutions? You want more money before or after the city declares bankruptcy?

      • This isn’t up to the SJPOA to solve, even though they and other employee bargaining groups offered their ideas to Reed, the worst mayor in San Jose history. This is up to your electeds to solve. So far they have offered more CSOs, under the mistaken belief that citizens will think that this helps solve the PD staffing problem.

        • Liccardo has offered to meet the SJPOA half way. Not surprisingly, they rejected it out of hand. I see you are of the “bring me a rock” school of management.

          • I too would like to hear what your understanding of Liccardo’s offer was. As of yesterday, no one at the PD, including our BFO Chief, knew of any of any viable offer made by the Mayor’s office. So if you have something, please share it. I for one would be grateful…

          • Must be on the City’s negotiations team. ..’cuz all we hear are crickets!.

          • 6 days later and JSL cannot provide ANY information to support his claim. There has been NO viable offer made public from the City to the SJPOA. Liccardo has NOT offered to meet us half way and in my opinion, he wont and politically he cant. It would be absolute career suicide for him to do so and we all know that politicians care more about their own personal goals, future and political debts than approximately 1000 of his lowly constituents livelihoods. So there is the sad, realistic truth. That is why JSL cannot provide any details on the “meet the SJPOA half way” offer he claims has been made by Liccardo and the City, because there has not been one.

            Here is an example of how much Liccardo cares about solving this desperate issue, beginning to restore the police department he helped ravage, engage in talks with the SJPOA and put an end to this debacle, he and the Counsel went on a month long vacation after he was warned what kind of a message that would send.

            Liccardo could care less about solving this. It is nearly July and he has been in office for almost 5 months. What progress has been made? What fixes has he offered? He did call an officer that left for another PD out of state, after he had already moved his family out of California by the way, and asked him to give him 10 more days to let him fix the problem. Liccardo promised there was “something big in the works.” That was 3 months ago, the officer politely declined and we are all still waiting. Heck, even JSL is still waiting.

          • You guys made it pretty clear you thought you were wasting your time with a “Reedbot.” So, I’m not sure why you’re continuing to badger me for an opinion.

            But, here goes. Liccardo’s publicly stated plan is indeed half way. He asked for $25 million in annual savings from negotiations. That’s half the amount originally envisioned by Reed, and the overwhelming ascent of taxpayers, from Measure B. I don’t know the specifics of any deal proposed, despite being accused of being Sam’s negotiator, but I do know that when he brought the subject up earlier this year, the police union refused to resume negotiations until summer.

            Now we are hearing that every union has made a deal in current budge talks, except, quelle surprise, the SJPOA. If your strategy is not to be pouty brats, set a blue line on recruiting, and drive attrition to prove that Measure B is dwindling the force, then I suggest you hire a new communications manager and explain.

          • JSL:You guys made it pretty clear you thought you were wasting your time with a “Reedbot.” So, I’m not sure why you’re continuing to badger me for an opinion.

            That’s the problem with using a handle. I can understand why. Some folks don’t want the ridicule of their peers, some folks have jobs to protect, etc. You look at the old history of this site though, it wasn’t that way.

      • San Jose currently has a AAA credit rating , which means a least $ 1 Billion dollars in reserve. We aren’t going Bankrupt

    • For months I’ve heard and read that SJPD was at 1400 officers and is now down in the high 800’s. Jen’s article says it’s 1,000. Rogers says nearly 700 have left in the last 4 years. B6T says its 846 “active full time street ready officers”, and assures us he has the real numbers. The he subtracts 34 academy recruits, ‘cuz they are not really “active full time street ready officers”. So why didn’t he just do that to start with? So, now B6T’s number is 812, but we still have that “active full time street ready officers”, qualifier. Then B6T tells us: “APPROXIMATELY 150 Sergeants, 45 Lieutenants, 8 Captains and 6 Chief officers. These police officers generally do not answer calls for service, actively conduct investigations or make arrests.” So what exactly do they do all day/night? Is he telling us that Sergeants aren’t on the street? I see a Sergeant at almost every scene where multiple officers respond; and in SJ it seems that everything but a simple traffic stop involves multiple officers, most of who just stand around watching the one cop actually working the case (kinda like a city or CalTrans construction project). A while back I saw eight patrol cars surrounding a car at the Oakridge Mall outside parking lot. The suspect was in custody in one of the police cars. All the other cops at the scene were just standing around or talking to each other, and they were all still there standing around 40 minutes later when I emerged from the mall. And more likely than not it was just a shoplifting incident. So, B6T now has the number down to only 603 cops actually working the streets. How hard can it be to get an actual, reliable number? Every side of this controversy manipulates the numbers to its advantage. City Auditor Sharon Erickson and her staff are crack professional auditors with no agenda. I’d bet they could get us a real number in a day or two. The Mayor and Council could put her on the task, but of course they have an agenda, too. Well, actually, they are split, so they have more than one agenda. Should cops be properly compensated? Of course. City Manager Duenas’ May 1 press release on the proposed FY 2015-2016 budget stated there are 5928 full time equivalent positions in the proposed 2015-2016 budget. Using B6T’s 846 number, that means cops account for just over 14% of city employees. The total proposed General Fund budget is $1,030,000,000, of which the PD budget is $333,332,622. So, the police budget is one-third of general fund expenditures for 14% of total city employees. Those 846 officers represent .000846% of the population of SJ. I wonder how these percentages compare to other Bay Area cities and counties? Every other bargaining unit has agreed to contract terms with the city. Thank you Mr. Duenas and staff, and to those bargaining units. SJPOA is still posturing, and the Mayor and Council leave for a months vacation in a week. Great!

      • Mr O’Connor, I started with 846 officers because that is the actual number the department used last week as street ready police officers. Of course there are more officers on the payroll, but they are off, injured on military leave, pregnant etc and are not going to be helping you with the issues you would be calling the police for in the first place. 846 is the correct number to start with. I subtracted the 34 academy RECRUITS because they were included in the 846 number. They ARE NOT sworn police officer’s while they are in the academy. They become sworn officer’s the day they graduate and receive their badges, which they haven’t yet and some of them may not. They are not POST certified police officer’s and in my opinion, they should not be counted as viable San Jose police officer ready to assist the public. Some may disagree and I can understand why, but is 34 more officers going to help in the big picture anyway?

        As far as sergeants are concerned, of course they are on the street. i also stated that some of them respond to calls for service, investigate crime and make arrests, but MOST of them don’t or can’t. The reason being is, they cannot properly supervise their respective districts, of which some of them are supervising two districts or more sometimes, screen calls for service, monitor and prioritize the pending calls, call all the angry RP’s back or review and approve reports if they are responding to calls for service and therefore outside of their vehicle. If they get tied up with an arrest or an intensive investigation, they cannot adequately or properly supervise the officers on their team or under their of span of control. I am speaking from first hand, daily experience, because I am currently a patrol sergeant.

        Good sergeants or supervisors will and do respond to the calls where their officers need them. Calls where there is a possibility of a complaint, use of force, multiple or dangerous suspects, needed co-orindation of additional police resources or situations that may be otherwise complicated requiring a perimeter or other reason of which the general public are mostly unaware. These occasions are far more frequent recently, because it seems everyone has a complaint or just wants to speak to a supervisor because they are unhappy with the police service they are receiving in SJ. As hard as this may be to believe, this takes up a good portion of my day sometimes. Thats when I get involved in the investigations or arrests and what takes me away from the other duties of which I just explained. These situations require a lot of documentation and co-ordination, which may explain why you saw lots of officers “standing around talking to each other.”

        My intention was to illustrate that when a citizen calls the police, GENERALLY a sergeant, lieutenant, command officer or Chief officer isn’t the one one knocking on the door, responding to calls for service or taking a report. Sometimes we do, but GENERALLY we don’t. Supervisors need to supervise and command officers need to command. That is their job, its not responding to calls for service unless there is a actual need. So, 846 minus 34 minus 209 equals 603.

        So my 603 number is accurate from MY perspective and I also I feel comfortable saying its the perspective from ALL of the officers working the streets in your neighborhoods, because that is truly where the rubber meets the road. Not in some corporate office high above the City looking down where they don’t have to get their hands dirty. And with all due respect, City Auditor Sharon Erickson may not know what I do or what my job truly is, or what resources are actually available to me. She is welcome to come sit in my police car for a week and see it first hand. Im sure after that, her opinion may be different. Trust me, we do an outstanding and remarkable job with what we have.

        Now the .000846% of the population as you describe it are the ones standing between you and chaos, injury and death and quite frankly I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have seen and dealt the “general population” of this City for nearly 25 years and the men and women I work with and supervise are some of the finest people I have ever met. You should be thankful they have stayed and fought the good fight for you. They would, and have very recently sacrificed everything for this City and for the citizens they have sworn to protect. So instead of picking my words apart, maybe you should just say thank you and shake our hands next time you can. I think that does a lot more to build relations than all the rhetoric on these sites or the words the politicians spout to justify their actions or lack there of. I know it makes me feel a bit more hopeful when someone says thank you for my service, looks me in the eye and means it.

        • One other point that needs to be made here with respect to JMC’s comments has to do with the budget. In San Jose and, indeed, in pretty much every city, the police and fire departments account for a major portion of the city budget. Why is this? Firstly, cops and firefighters are the hardest to hire and retain for a huge variety of reasons I’ve explained in other posts. Simply put, though, it is hard to find qualified candidates to fill public safety positions and it is getting harder and harder to do so every day.

          Secondly, the equipment cops and firefighters use tend to be fairly expensive and involve a lot of ‘consummables’. Even at wholesale pricing, ammunition, for instance, is expensive, but must be consumed in training and practice. Police vehicles cost in the range of $30k or so and the PD uses hundreds of them. Department-issued pistols are expensive, costing nearly as much as the average computer workstation used by a clerk, etc. Same thing with shotguns which cost several hundred each and rifles which can cost nearly $1k each.

          Then there’s the cost of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel (for the helicopter). And maintenance for all the vehicles used. On some days, I’ve put a hundred miles on my patrol car in a ten hour shift and I know I was not in a minority there.

          I could go on, but hopefully readers will get the idea. Most city positions involve the use of nothing but a computer, printer, paper, pen and pencil. Public safety is a radically different proposition and properly equipping and maintaining public safety is pretty expensive, wages and benefits notwithstanding.

      • Wow! You are good at the art of lawyering… you start with a conclusion and cherry pick facts to convince others that your conclusion is the truth.

        You take B6T’s numbers (which are fairly accurate – from a week ago- more have left since) and the budget numbers and with some quick math start chumming for the anti-public employees police crowd.

        What you leave out is that 6 +/- years ago the budget provided money to pay 1450 officers – a study commissioned by Reed’s council said that sjpd was under staffed by about 600 officers to which Reed said “I don’t have money to pay for 600 more , I don’t have money to pay 25 more, but I can pay 7 more for the short term…” this was in anticipation rhat 7 officerd would be retiring soon. SJPD was deemed “over strength” for a short time at 1457 and then as anticipated 7 retired and the department has shrunk ever since.

        You leave out the fact that the f/y 2014 budget soon to expire set aside money to pay 1109 officers (SJPD’s current budget authorized strength) even though last year when the current budget went into effect ACTUAL staffing was about 950.

        That is a political sham a legal way of “cooking the books” Budgeting for 1109 while actually paying 950 allows the politicians to pat themselves on the back and say “look at all the money we saved.”

        Remember Liccardo made a campaign promise to add 250 officers to SJPD? He wrote a book telling all the idiots how he was going to do it… take money from here and there take anticipated savings from this and that and put it all in to the police department and hire 250.

        Mission Accomplished! NOT… he added money to increase budgeted staffing for pay and benifits to cover another 200 (1309) but will SJPD magically have 1309 officers on July 1 when the f/y 2015 budget goes into effect? Of course not. Will City Hall claim they are running the City in the black based on budget savings of paying 840 instead of 1309? OF COURSE.

        Some believe that Liccardo’s promise to increase staffing will be to hire more Community Service OFFICERS and expand their duties to include enforcement duties like writing parking tickets and taking custody of persons arrested by mall cops… I don’t doubt this as City Hall repeatedly provides inflated staffing numbers that are repeated by the Merc and SJI, numbers no where near the current sworn staffing numbers that are very much in line with B6T’s.

        It is absolutely absurd to read someone with an advanced degree(s) and life experience wonder what sergeants and lieutenant’s captains and Chiefs do all day if not police. Absurd…

        Next time you see officers imitating Cal Trans you should take note and enquire what was going on… a real man might get out from behind the office keyboard and ask the ranking supervisor for an explanation… there are other ways to accomplish this but your uninformed anecdotes just highlight your antipolice /anti public employee bias and the ambulance chasing traits that effectively diminish your profession.

        I’ll end by likening the Auditor and staff to the Civil Grand Jury… someone brings a topic or maybe even a conclusion to the CGJ and auditor and facts are gathered to support or debunk. What’s the difference? The CGJ serves for a year -maybe because its members are politically connected – but the Auditor serves as a contracted employee whose lively hood is dependent on reporting to to same body that commissions studies…

      • San Jose has the absolute lowest staffed Public Safety of all major Cities , its not even close . Public Safety will always be the biggest chunk of the general fund . But lets not forget that the City budget is made up of multiple funds , that combined comprise the City budget. The general fund being the lowest funded them all

  4. B6T, but the city will be spending six figures or more to hire an outside consultant who will teach SJPD how to do more with less….and tell us what we already know (which why this city hires outside consultants…do not listen to your staff, do not talk to your staff… hire a high priced consultant to do that so you will get a fancy report that will end up as “Shelf Candy” in some “suit’s office on the 18th floor”)…

    I heard the consultant idea on the radio this morning.

  5. Not everyone is acknowledging the actual numbers. These are the unfortunate accurate numbers and the reality of the situation the City has created and the officers are facing daily. As for my solution, I don’t have one I think the City would accept or the officers would approve. My intention is to make the public aware of what the day to day reality of this dangerous situation truly is.

    The best way I can describe it is like a bad marriage where one spouse has made a fatal transgression of trust. The other spouse may stay in the marriage for the kids or some other nobel reason, but their heart really isn’t in it. They will stay until the kids or in this scenario, their livelihood, can withstand the divorce. Once they can leave, they will and no one would blame them. No amount of I’m sorry’s or money as you describe it, will suffice or mend the damage that has been done. Both entities will part, but neither will be the same again. Neither will ever truly recover and they both will always regret the parting of the ways.

    I have spoken to hundreds of officers that have left or are leaving and they all would agree with this description of what is happening. The unfortunate outcome is that both parties will suffer and will never fully heal. The City is losing hundreds of years of experience and dedication that can NEVER be replaced, and the officer’s are losing a true part of their being that they cannot ever duplicate at another agency or career field. They are losing being a San Jose Police officer and that is the saddest and most tragic part of this story. This was THE place to work, ask any police officer in the Bay Area and if they are honest they will agree. Now, sadly it is THE place to be from…

  6. Some great posts by B6T and TRUTHSERUM along with some passed-gas by others.

    As a self-appointed skeptic of the worth of an employee you’ve never met, I suggest you consider that, with rare exception, a police veteran who leaves with twenty years experience has been hired elsewhere, which means his/her job expertise, work history, character, psychological health, and fitness have been deemed desirable by an agency offering competitive benefits (and thus one, unlike SJ, that attracts lots of applicants). Also, it is quite likely that any cop who takes the time to participate at SJI is emotionally invested in the department, typically a good thing to have in an employee.

    You claim to want solutions but hedge that desire with the threat of bankruptcy. I know you can’t prove the sincerity of your desire for solutions, but you certainly can provide the data necessary to support this city’s risk of bankruptcy. Pony up.

    SJPD members,
    Sam Liccardo has no intention of doing anything to permanently retain veterans. If he did he would, in this time of real crisis, make the no-brainer move of offering a substantial, pensionable raise. But this he’s not doing. Instead, he’s buying time through overtime cars and bonus pay proposals in accord with the long range scheme formed after Chuck Reed’s Measure B proved as disastrous as cops predicted. The mayor needs to slow the attrition rate for now because, contrary to his stupid predictions, he hasn’t filled the promised police academies (look for him sweetening the pot for Tier Two hires by offering permanent enhancements). Nonetheless, the signs are all there that the city intends to limp by with a patchwork police department until the Tier 2’s become a majority (and set a new bargaining basis).

    The city’s plan is just the latest in a string of disasters set in motion by Chuck Reed. The academy numbers, predicted to be high by Reed/Liccardo and low by everyone with credibility, have proven to be even lower than the most pessimistic of professionals. So too is the resignation rate of academy grads. Our leaders’ plans are failing and they are failing us. A price will be paid and it will be steep and enduring.

    Side Note: The unprecedented number of pay cars slotted for July 4th are part of a deception campaign, as the city looks to take advantage of a high profile opportunity to dupe the public. For less than $30k (along with the risk of adding even more fatigue to its overworked cops) the city intends to counter the perception of inadequate police staffing by having cops available for firecracker calls (when on other days there aren’t enough cops for serious calls). The overtime whores, some now making $300k per year, are doing the city’s heavy lifting.

    • San Jose is not at immediate risk of bankruptcy now, but they were in much greater risk a few years ago when the economy crashed and before Measure B was passed. Rising pensions have played a big part in city bankruptcies around the country. Not just the poster boy Detroit, but Stockton, San Bernardino, several other cities in California. The state economy has generally improved and grown overall over the past decade, but public employee pension debt in California grew from $6.3 billion in 2003 to $198 billion in 2013. That’s not sustainable indefinitely. It’s a huge challenge, and we all know it. Especially, when the next big downturn in the economy comes at some unpredictable time. Private companies have all but given up on pensions, because the math was fuzzy and they end up as huge uncertain liabilities that cut deeply and increasingly over time to the bottom line.

      A San Jose police officer has a take home salary of roughly $100,000 or a little more. A sergeant closer to $120,000 lieutenant $130k. OT pay in the tens of thousands is common, and some “whores” as you call them really milk it, especially in the years before their pension kicks in. Add benefits, insurance, plus the pension and disability payment (a whopping $90k-ish) and total payout by the city (i.e. mom and pop taxpayers) is commonly between $200,000 and $300,000. Then officers can retire in the 50s with 90% of their pay for life and then get another job to add onto it. That’s just not reasonable. Are we supposed to feel sorry for you if that’s cut a bit? A sensible approach would be a pay as you go system. Increase the base pay, but retirement would be a 25% payment toward a 401k (paid either fully by city or partially with employee contribution, depending on budget situation) that officers could choose to manage on their own or by a financial adviser.

      Officers can leave for greener pastures, and I don’t blame them. But other cities will wise up eventually, too, and pension reform on a statewide level (this time vetted by lawyers to be appeal proof) is coming your way soon. The state POAs would be wise to band together and propose something to their satisfaction that is both sustainable and may obviate the need for that statewide reform before people sink their teeth into like red meat. But given the stubborn and intransigent nature of the unions, I don’t expect that to happen. Interesting times ahead.

  7. JMO’C,

    — Patrol sergeants seldom answer calls for service. When they do respond to a scene it is typically to supervise the officers doing the work, address some admin business, or shoot the breeze.

    — Cops cluster at car stops and crime scenes for a variety of reasons. Though often due to the nature of the call it can be just as likely to exchange information, enjoy a bit of camaraderie, or satisfy their curiosity. By the way, the shorter staffed the district the more the officers must stay close to each other, for if they don’t they end up too far from each other to provide credible backup.

    — Budgeted positions do not equal actual employees. With every academy of 16 instead of the 60 sought, 44 budgeted positions remain vacant. Same with resignations and retirements, and over the course of several years a department can wind up with hundreds of vacant positions (which is where SJPD is headed, if not already there).

    — Your idea of getting the actual breakdown from the City Auditor is fine, but it wouldn’t be necessary were the city manager, mayor, or police chief actually committed to the transparency about which they boast ad infinitum (the police department has an analyst with the information on his/her computer).

    — Historically, San Jose’s staffing ration has hovered around 1.4 per 1,000 residents, low by national standards but equitable with Santa Clara’s (a city with very modest crime problems and 1/10 the geographic area). The trouble is SJ is currently in the range of .82 (or over 40% below historic staffing averages). The city of Tucson, enduring what’s been diagnosed as a “critical staffing shortage” has 1.9 officers per. SFPD staffing is typically in the 2.3 range, although there is a move to up it to 2.6.

    — Regarding wages, the Santa Clara website lists police officer salaries at $105k to $134k, while SJPD offers $78k to $104k, with significant deductions unique to San Jose. The salary and benefits picture is crystal clear: its much better almost everywhere else. The SJPOA has no need to posture and the best police job shoppers seem to be saying no need to apply.

    • “Cops cluster at car stops and crime scenes… ”

      You ever been to any of the watering holes lawyers frequent? Ever been to Dept 28 waiting for the judge? Ever watch TV law/crime shows?

      All I ever see is lawyers clustered together socializing, backslapping and telling.jokes or gossiping around the water cooler… not much lawyering going on but then again maybe there is…

  8. Would anybody care to speculate on why there is so little political pressure on Mr. Liccardo and the city council to hire more police officers? The Almaden meeting had the potential to bring pressure on Mr. Liccardo to take action but most of the interest there seems to have dissipated. The Mercury News is on Mr. Liccardo’s side and is doing its best not to stir up any public safety problems for him. With SVLG polling for a November 2016 half a percent sales tax, any new revenue for public safety would be after that if at all as Mr. Liccardo would obviously agree not to interfere with Mr. Guardino’s campaign. With San Jose’s budget growing at a very slow rate during these boom times due to its weak tax base, SJPD will continue to suffer for years as Mr Liccardo and the city council seem to have no interest in even creating a plan for fully staffing SJPD.

  9. JSL,

    I realize it’s a waste of time trying to argue with pension Reedbots, but here goes.

    — San Jose was never in danger of bankruptcy, which is why Chuck Reed failed in his efforts to have granted “fiscal emergency” status. It was a stunt, he is a liar, you were duped.

    — Public pension debt grew during the years you cited due to the impact the mortgage crisis had on stock values. If you feel it fair to blame the employees for the lost value in their pensions then you’re going to need to invent a boogeyman to blame for the lost value in the city’s real estate holdings during that same period.

    — San Jose’s pensions proved themselves sustainable for more than four decades, through the inflation crisis of the 70’s, the oil crisis of the 80’s, the savings and loan crisis, and the dot com crisis. The subprime crisis, the direct result of the government’s social engineering and abandonment of investment basics, took San Jose’s pensions from stable (well funded) to emergency status; Chuck Reed, with his decision to use the crisis to eliminate pensions, chose to respond in such a way as to aggravate the emergency, exaggerate its consequences, and use it to break the backs of the city’s employee groups. In the year the subprime crisis hit, the police-fire pension had 100% of the funds obligated to retirees and 99% of those obligated to active employees; when the crisis ended in 2009, those numbers were 100% and 64%, respectively. Clearly there was work to be done, but the actuarial liability was to the still-working, meaning there was time enough for plan modifications and market returns to restore funding levels. But no, Reed’s bullheaded and dishonorable conduct, which spurred a huge increase in retirements and resignations (employees fleeing Reed’s tyranny), transformed 40% of pension contributors into pension recipients (while adding no new contributors), resulting in a further tilting the fund’s assets/obligations equation (and the crippling of the police department).

    — Overtime pay is not pensionable. The city’s pension contribution (of which you complain) skyrocketed as a result of the subprime debacle and is no more an addition to an employee’s paycheck than the absence of a city contribution during previous times of economic boom was a subtraction. The only difference between the two circumstances (both predictable) is that whenever the fund allowed the city to forego a contribution it went unreported in the paper, unstated by the mayor, and ignored by concerned citizens such as yourself.

    — You opine that it is not reasonable that someone in their 50’s can pension out and get another job. I am of the opinion that anyone who has invested into a fund for 25 to 30 years deserves to reap the benefits — especially those who’ve put their lives on the line.

    — You claim pensions are not reasonable and cite the example of private industry. Okay, you picked the playing field so I ask you: name a local industry that can’t fill its job openings, let alone fails to fill 76% of them (16 recruits for 60 academy seats)? Your idea of what is “reasonable” is working in the real world as poorly as is the Reed/Liccardo policy.

    — Lastly, a reality check. Tally up the cost of living in a valley where $800k gets you a starter home in a crummy school district, add in the innate physical dangers and psychological toll of police work, factor in the declining population of young people with the police skill set, and top it off with a political environment which prefers to scapegoat (and prosecute) police officers rather than hold the most dysfunctional and criminal population accountable for their atrocious conduct, and good luck getting good people to fill your beat cars using low pay and 401k as bait.

  10. “A sensible approach would be a pay as you go system. Increase the base pay, but retirement would be a 25% payment toward a 401k (paid either fully by city or partially with employee contribution, depending on budget situation) that officers could choose to manage on their own or by a financial adviser.”

    You’re delusional if you think that is close to “sensible” and if you haven’t already realized, the department can hardly attract 16/60 prospective employees with a 2%@ 30 years/service, minimum age 60 retirement model.

    Speaking of sensible, the SJPOA proposed 2, very sensible alternatives to Tier 2 that would have saved the city millions of dollars as of NOW. Instead, they decided shove Measure B down the union’s throats, resulting in millions of dollars in legal fees and STILL NO RESOLUTION!

    There are numerous possible alternatives to make SJPD competitive again and restore staffing, but the city doesn’t care to spend the time exploring them.

    Much of the pension fund insolvency you speak of JSL, has been recouped via economic recovery within the financial markets. In fact, the city has been slowly closing the gap by forcing the department to abuse overtime/backfill pay cars in wake of the severe staffing shortage, collecting the 21% deduction (to pay for retiree medical & pension) and not allowing it to be pensionable.

  11. JSL,

    After being challenged on a number of your assertions you bailed with the rather dubious claim that things had turned personal. Now you are back to address one particular issue and ignore the many. Fine, you have the right to conduct yourself like a politician.

    On what planet does asking for “$25 million in annual savings from negotiations” qualify as a plan? In what dictionary is the word negotiate defined as “to acquiesce to unknowable consequences?” And who still believes that the word “savings” has any definitive meaning when used in a government proposal?

    The answers to the above three questions are apparently: a) whatever planet it is you call home; b) a dictionary of antonyms; c) you.

    • Are you saying you’d agree to a plan with $25 million annual savings if a higher specificity of details were provided?

      • I’ll say that I supported a pension reform that actuarilly would have saved the City Of San Jose and it’s taxpayers half a billion dollars in the first 5 years had it been implemented and untallied savings after 5 years. That plan was very detailed but the City Council declined to pursue it because their silly criteria for acceptance called for “immediate” savings and the plan I am referring to would have taken 8 to 12 months to fully implement.

  12. JSL you made it pretty clear that Liccardo had made an attempt to meet the bargaining unit “half way” and that the bargaining unit was refusing to even come to the table… then you said you were upset by the rancor and were going to check out… now your back , self-identifing as a ,”Reed bot” , continuing with your own personal attacks on the working men and women employed by the City of San Jose and citing Sam’s currently unfulfilled pie-in-the sky campaign promises.

  13. “Are you saying you’d agree to a plan with $25 million annual savings if a higher specificity of details were provided?” — JSL

    Given his unique understanding of the negotiation process, I would love to be JSL’s cable provider. Here’s how things would go at renewal time.

    JSL: “Before I sign for another year I’d like to know what you’re offering?”
    FF Cable: “We’re excited to offer you our new ‘Loyalty Package’ with our ‘win-win’ pricing plan.”
    JSL: “What does that mean?”
    FF Cable: “You’ll be enjoying a great bundle of services for the best rate possible!”
    JSL: “What’s included in the bundle?”
    FF Cable: “A customized array of services, prepared just for you!”
    JSL: “But what, specifically, are those services?”
    FF Cable: “A detailed description of your ‘Loyalty Package’ will be provided at the conclusion of the renewal process.”
    JSL: “Are you telling me I won’t know what I’m getting until after I agree to it?”
    FF Cable: “Not at all. I can tell you right now: you’re getting the best package we can offer.”
    JSL: “Can I at least assume I’ll continue receiving the premium channels?”
    FF Cable: “That will depend on the monthly rate of your Loyalty Package.”
    JSL: “And what will that be?”
    FF Cable: “Your new rate will be determined prior to your first billing date.”
    JSL: “Are you saying I have to renew before I can find out what it’s going to cost me?”
    FF Cable: “It may seem like that, but with the ‘win-win’ pricing plan you already know you’re getting the best rate possible.”
    JSL: “Best rate sounds great, but what does it mean?”
    FF Cable: “That you are getting the absolute lowest rate per month based on our corporate commitment to our customers.”
    JSL: “But if you’re really offering a rate lower than your competitors, why the secrecy?”
    FF Cable: “Our rates are not based on the competition.”
    JSL: “What! Then exactly what are they based on?”
    FF Cable: “Our corporate commitment.”
    JSL: “Which is… ?”
    FF Cable: “To retain our ability to remain in business for you, the customer, by maximizing the profitability of our products and services.”
    JSL: “What about maximizing what I get for my money? If I’m expected to sign an agreement without knowing what I will get or what it will cost, how’s that win-win?”
    FF Cable: “You win a new contract and we win your loyalty.”
    JSL: “I give up. Let’s just go ahead and get this over with.”
    FF Cable: “Excellent. Your new contract begins on the first of next month and you’ll be mailed your first bill around the 5th. Would you like us to include a tube of Renewbricant™, our complimentary lube?”
    JSL: “No thanks, I still have some from my negotiation with Verizon.

      • JSL, All I asked was for you to provide a reasonable explanation for the claim that you made. A claim, I would assume, you believe to be true. After you made that assertion, I personally asked the BFO Chief and he told me point blank, “There has been no such offer made by the CIty.” So I passed on that information to you. You in turn claimed Liccardo indeed had made such on offer and it would save us $25 million dollars.

        Maybe its my San Jose public school education coming back to bite me once again, or maybe the Chief and his staff are keeping a secret from the ranks of the PD and he flat out lied to me, or maybe you really and truly don’t know what you are talking about. I read your response to my question about 10 times and for the life of me, I cant understand what it is you are trying to say. Let me make it clear, meeting someone half way in an attempt to solve a disagreement when both parties feel they are right, requires all sides to give and take a little. That’s how a negotiation works. Ever been married? Liccardo has not done that to my knowledge or to anyone else’s that I have spoken to.

        As far as the other city union’s are concerned, most if not all of them were out of contract. I am happy they all agreed and have something both sides can live with.That is remarkable progress and a good sign for all concerned. But the PD still has a valid contract until December 31 of this year. We, the PD, are in negotiations with the City to stop the hemorrhaging of officers, command staff and Chief’s which has cost us almost 40 percent of our department. That is what needs to be worked out and that is what Liccardo has failed to do, so far. I don’t think you can honestly argue that fact.

        And as far as calling me and the rest of the people I work with “pouty brats”, I think I will just leave that one alone. I will chalk that up to a juvenile error on your part, your lack of knowledge of what we do and the sacrifices that we make everyday. Because when you use such language to describe the men and woman of SJPD, or police work in general, it makes you look, less than educated. It devalues their dedication and commitment to their profession. I have served this community for almost 25 years and I think your choice of words is contemptible and insulting.

        Next time you make a claim and are challenged on it, be a stand up person, support your position with facts and don’t insult the people who are trying to gain prospective on your point of view. That is how problems are solved, valid information communicated and negotiations become successful. Very little is gained by calling someone you disagree with ridiculous names.

  14. JSL,

    You were given numerous opportunities here to defend your uninformed statements but declined them all. Because of that I did not address my last post to you (as I did my others) nor did I intend to amuse you. My intention was to illustrate the idiocy of your interpretation of the labor issue. My goal was to construct a joke that would surpass the one you’ve made of yourself.

    Given the Herculean nature of the task, failure was expected.

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