Nakamura’s response to Stephanie Taber’s question about “compaction” between cop salaries. Or is it “compression” – he can’t make up his mind

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

Hi Ms. Taber,

 I apologize as the email I was going to send you was still waiting in my draft box, but it was in regards to compression and my interpretation. Essentially, a compression issue occurs when a salary of a subordinate employee within a department creeps within a certain salary range of his/her immediate supervisor. In this particular case, and as you have identified, the incentive to become a manager is lessened when a subordinate’s compensation (with overtime) overlaps that of a supervisor with exempt status or fixed salary. Addressing the compression should not

 In regards to the newly created departments, those directors will be paid a salary commensurate with their span of control and duties. Their contracts will be negotiated in accordance with existing at-will employee contracts which spell out the salary and benefits available and as established in the management pay and benefits resolution(s). Severance is limited to a maximum of three months and that is still an option, not a guarantee.

To make it more clear regarding at will employee contracts I’ve provided you with a copy of a blank one for your review.

 If you have any additional questions Ms. Taber please feel free to contact me and I apologize for not getting back to you sooner.

 All the best,

 Brian

First of all, it’s not “compression,” Brian, it’s “compaction” – please get your Newspeak straight! They make up these words so we don’t understand what they’re talking about, but this guy spins it out so fast he can’t even remember what he made up. 

There he says it though, Stephanie was right. “Compression” or “compaction” – a turd by any other name still stinks. What it means – a boss is not getting paid enough more than their (oooo!) “subordinate,” and that makes the boss just plain jealous. 

In the dictionary, “subordinate” is often substituted with “inferior”.   Is that really what Nakamura thinks of our employees? Well, that’s the problem – we have two police lieutenants making a formal complaint, which is often the precursor to a LAWSUIT, over the fact that their “subordinate” sergeants get overtime, and are therefore able to extend their “subordinate” salaries up to and often well beyond that of their supervising lieutenant. In other words, the “subordinates” aren’t “subordinate” enough!

One solution to this problem, which would also solve some of our financial problems Downtown, would be to take “structured overtime” out of the cop contracts. Cops through the rank of sergeant are guaranteed overtime, which they trade back and forth among themselves in order to as much as  double their salaries. It’s pretty convoluted – they tell you they are actually required to work that 15 hours on regular pay, but they get so much beyond that 15 hours (which can be used to sleep, eat, go to a gym…) that the average officer making a base salary of $65,000 can easily boost his pay to as much as $120,000.  Look at the salary chart in the Enterprise Record and see for yourself. The police budget is over $22 million – our total city budget is about $43 million. 

Instead the cops are demanding and Nakamura is recommending a pay increase for lieutenants. He’s already recommended a $13,000 salary increase for Chief Kirk Trostle (that’s in the “reorganization” report in next week’s agenda).  The new cop contract is full of raises, can you believe that? How is this “reorganization” saving us any money?

I’ve invited Mark Sorensen to discuss this topic at a Chico Taxpayers Association meeting, but I haven’t had any response from him. I’m predicting Sorensen will rubberstamp anything Nakamura puts in front of him. This will prove to be his undoing in 2014. 


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