Local News

Wednesday, Dec 11 2013 07:22 PM

Council approves small raises for police

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Bakersfield Police cars are shown in a file photo.

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BY THEO DOUGLAS Californian staff writer tdouglas@bakersfield.com

The Bakersfield City Council approved a one-year contract Wednesday granting small pay raises to Bakersfield Police Department officers and detectives but increasing what they must pay into their own pensions.

The agreement, which Human Resources Manager Christi Tenter said the Bakersfield Police Officers Association approved in a vote Tuesday, is just the second labor agreement the two entities have reached in 6 1/2 years.

Extended labor negotiations left BPOA members without a contract from July 1, 2007 until March 6 of this year.

Under terms of the new agreement, which covers July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014, Bakersfield police officers, senior police and training officers, police trainees and detectives will all get a "half of 1 percent" raise effective Monday.

Detectives will get an additional 1.8-percent raise retroactive to Oct. 21, bringing their total increase to 2.3 percent.

This means hourly wages for Bakersfield police officers, which currently vary from $26.46 to $32.22, will rise to $26.59 to $32.38, depending on pay grade.

Detectives, whose hourly wages ranged from $29.77 to $36.27, will see an immediate increase boosting them from $30.47 to $37.12 depending on pay grade.

The new contract also would require all members hired before Jan. 1, 2011, and who have been with the city for more than five years, to contribute half of 1 percent toward their own pensions.

The contract's cost to the city is $199,606 for the half-percent raise, and $120,500 for the 1.8-percent raise, but the city will save $126,530 in pension costs, Tenter said.

BPOA President Todd Dickson did not respond to requests for comment.

Voting with no discussion, the council approved the contract 4-0, with Ward 1 Councilman Willie Rivera, Ward 2 Councilman Terry Maxwell, and Ward 6 Councilwoman Jacquie Sullivan absent.

"We told those guys we'd catch them up and we are catching them up," Ward 5 Councilman Harold Hanson said in an interview, meaning that through periodic pay increases in labor contracts, the city hopes to make Bakersfield police officers' pay equal to their counterparts in other area police departments.

Tenter said since it is a one-year agreement, contract talks between BPOA and the city will resume in mid-2014.

In other business, the council voted unanimously to confirm Hanson's nomination and appoint retired State Farm section manager Richard Schwartz to the Bakersfield Planning Commission.

"He and I just seemed to click in terms of our thinking," Hanson said before the meeting. "It was just his attitude toward what he thought the city of Bakersfield should look like in the future."

In a cellphone interview after the council meeting, Schwartz described himself as "growth-oriented," and said that "I believe we have to do things that provide a good business opportunity to Bakersfield, and smart planning."

He will serve the remaining 40 months of former commissioner Justin Batey's term. Batey resigned in October because he moved outside city limits.

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