By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
After years of negotiation and very public stand-offs, the city of Bakersfield and the Bakersfield police union have reached a contract agreement giving police 6 percent raises to be paid retroactively and going forward, according to City Manager Alan Tandy.
The retroactive payments and increases for the current fiscal year come to $2.6 million, Tandy said Friday evening. It was unclear how far back the retroactive raises go.
"It will sound like a lot of money in this economy, but it has been a very long time since they've had an increase," he said. "We hope it's the first step in more positive relations" with the union.
Detective Todd Dickson, the union's president, couldn't be reached for comment Friday evening.
The Bakersfield City Council still must approve the pact.
The agreement comes after years of wrangling between the two organizations, at one point culminating in a series of roadside billboards the police union paid for to advertise its discontent over the pay issues.
The police union has been without a contract since 2007, and it asked for a 12 percent pay increase both retroactively to 2007 and going forward.
Tandy and Councilman Ken Weir had said the city couldn't afford that amount. The union countered that its members are underpaid compared to officers in like-sized cities and compared to Kern County sheriff's deputies.
Last April, the city offered a 6 percent pay increase without retroactive payments. Police union members rejected that offer. They responded with an offer to accept a 12 percent increase going forward, with retroactive payments back to 2010. Tandy said that was still unaffordable.
"We've been coming closer over the last few months" to an agreement, Tandy said. "It's very good to have it be done."
The agreement will go before the City Council for approval at its next meeting, set for March 6.
BPOA represents about 300 police officers.