Stephanie Taber – Citizen at Large: What is “compaction”?

18 Feb

The city is currently in contract talks with various employee groups, and this week’s council agenda includes a little snatch of the cops’ contract.

Under the terms’ of Council’s request to sunshine employee group proposals, the Council has received
the first proposal from Public Safety Management (PSM) for consideration. The fiscal impact of PSMs
proposal is approximately $10,367 per year in order to rectify an on-going compaction issue. The city’s
proposal consists of administrative changes and has no financial impact.

I’ve been reading these agendas for years now, and I still need to bust out my dictionary and do a lot of research online just to figure out what’s going on. “Fiscal impact” means, the new contract is going to cost us money, I got that much.  But, what’s “compaction?”  Long time council watcher Stephanie Taber wrote this note to staff:

Could you have someone in PSM define the word “compaction” as it is used in the “Fix Compaction for Police Management”.  It’s apparently the salary spread, or lack of it, between a sergeant and a lieutenant pay scale which is normally 5% but because at the lieutenant level they no longer get overtime it is obviously more advantageous to a promotable employee to stay at the sergeant level.  Is that the crux of the argument?

Also, what will be included in the benefit package offered to the newly created department directors.  I am particularly interested in whether they will pay their full share of their pension plan and if they will have a special severance package and if so what that would be.  They appear to be salaried position and increases will be based on merit???  A little more info would help.

Thank you.


I think Stephanie is right – I just saw an episode about this on “The Office.” Dunder-Mifflin has just been bought out by Saber, and Michael and Jim find themselves vying for the office manager position. Then Oscar explains that sales staffers make more money because of commission, so they both change their minds and want to be salesmen.  

Yes, Chico PD and Fire often double their salaries with overtime. They agree to $60,000 salaries and end up taking as much as $120,000.  So,  I can certainly see this “compaction” business to be a problem, especially when you’re dealing with people who routinely put  their own interests ahead of the community. 

You’ll have to follow this link to get the report, and then scroll all the way to the bottom – Debbie Presson and staff purposely load these reports in such a way that they cannot be cut and paste. Even Mark Sorensen has complained about this – I feel it’s Presson’s way of keeping the public out, but you think whatever you want: 

Click to access 2-19-13CityCouncilAgendaPacket.pdf

I will also post any response Stephanie gets from staff, but don’t hold your breath, she usually has to yank their chain a few times, Goddess bless her! 


I’d like to get a discussion going on this subject, so I’ll lead with a few snippets from the report. Now remember, I have to go between two screens and hand-type this stuff, thanks to city clerk Debbie Presson, so pardon me if I tend to get a little beee-chee.

The report leads off:

“Historically the compaction issue for the Police Department was masked by merit pay. Once merit pay was eliminated (2008) it exposed several structural problems.  The first structural issue relates to compaction. The second to internal promotions.”

“The police manager to police supervisor pay ratio immediately experience compaction when two lieutenants were promoted from the sargeant ranks. This compaction was never remedied, and eventually led to a personnel grievance filed by these two lieutenants.” 

(The spelling error there, by the way, belongs to our “quality employees”  – it’s sergeant, not sargeant)

There you have it. Two of our police department employees, lieutenants,  are complaining they don’t get paid enough. That’s the kind of “quality” employees we attract with these salaries. I have a salary sheet from 2010, listing four lieutenants – their salaries range between $108,000 and $126,000/year.  They’re complaining about salaries like that? And on top of that, they pay NOTHING toward their own pensions and benefits. They are eligible to receive 90 percent of their highest year’s pay at age 50. 

One of those Lieutenants listed on that salary sheet is Linda Dye, who recently invited me to get the hell out of the secret meeting I stumbled into one day Downtown.  Here’s something weird, maybe somebody can explain this to me – in addition to her $109,000 salary as Lieutenant, she received $11,557 in “special pay,” $3,619 in “other pay,” and $939 in “overtime.” Well, gee, I thought that was the problem, that Lieutenants don’t receive overtime? 

It says, right in the agenda report, “As a lieutenant, you are not eligible for overtime, are on call, and serve as ‘at will’ employees.”   

I’ll have to ask somebody about that and get back to you. 

UPDATE: Stephanie Taber reports she has had no answer to her e-mail question, nor was she able to get an answer at Tuesday’s meeting. They don’t discuss the cop contracts in front of the public, the item was included because by law they are supposed to show us the contracts before they sign them. Supposed to. They signed Kirk Trostle’s contract without showing it to the public – it was signed on Tuesday, and when I asked for it on the following Friday it still wasn’t available to the public. That just shows you how the city of Chico respects the rules. 

One Response to “Stephanie Taber – Citizen at Large: What is “compaction”?”


  1. Nakamura’s response to Stephanie Taber’s question about “compaction” between cop salaries. Or is it “compression” – he can’t make up his mind | Chico Taxpayers Association - March 2, 2013

    […] 2 Mar Well, Stephanie had to resend her request once, but Brian Nakamura finally responded.  He’s done this to me – he always makes a dumb excuse why he hasn’t responded sooner. He told me he got my e-mail address wrong, and here he tells Stephanie he had a response in his drafts file. I guess he was too busy attending a ceremony for a cop killed 75 years ago, or maybe too busy driving between Chico and his home in Hemet?  Whatever – his response isn’t anything to write home to Mama about, but I’ll share it anyway.  For Stephanie’s request see… […]

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