Tag Archives: City of Chico public safety contracts

Chico now follows Yuba City into the abyss

25 Mar

Here’s a story from the Appeal Democrat in Yuba City/Marysville. The title states the problem – read further – city expenses have increased to pre-recession levels while revenues have continued to fall, retirement costs have increased by almost 10  percent a year while 32 positions have remained vacant. 

Sound familiar? Well, not if you’ve been listening to Chico Assistant City Mangler Chris Constantin lately – he just made a Pollyanna speech about how everything will be getting better and we need to pump more money into police salaries for cops who only pay 12 percent of their pensions, 90 percent available at age 50. Constantin assumes higher property tax and sales tax revenues – I’d like to see the crystal ball he’s been using, cause my crystal ball says we’re headed straight for the second dip in the ‘W’. Housing prices are going up too fast, builders are building in a glutted market.  In my neighborhood, the same contractor is flipping three houses – putting lipstick on pigs, and jacking the price up to $400,000 plus.  

Below, Constantin admits we can’t really afford these raises for the cops, but insinuates they won’t stay if we don’t pay them more. Meanwhile, interim chief Dunbaugh told Stephanie Taber we had more than 100 recruits for those three positions they just filled the other day. The lies just keep on flowing – Chris Constantin is full of double talk.

“While this agreement includes base pay adjustments, the CPOA has agreed to pay more of their pensions costs (the highest of any employee group) and to convert to a new employee 14-step schedule that reduces the annual step increases from 5% down to 2.5% (a new salary schedule also agreed to by our non-public safety management group). This is a unique solution to the unique issue faced by this high priority area. Unfortunately, it is not something we can afford to give to others without compromising our financial future; however, I believe the return on the investment will positively impact all of us and will bring relief to a workforce that is struggling to maintain even a minimum safe staffing level.”

I predict Constantin will fly the coop before the city announces plans to pursue a sales tax increase. But, read below, you see we’re on the same road as Yuba City. 



Yuba City budget deficits remain as costs rise

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for Yuba City’s budget woes, but it’s obscured by a mountain of pension debt and rising health care costs.

Those rising costs mean budget deficits will remain until 2018, when the city pays off its pension obligation bonds. Consequently, it’s unlikely the city will be able to add or expand services, Finance Director Robin Bertagna told the City Council during a mid-year budget update at last Tuesday’s meeting.

 Basically, city expenses have increased to pre-recession levels, while revenues, despite an uptick from the improving economy, have not, Bertagna said.

Bertagna projected the city would have a $2 million budget deficit by the end of the fiscal year, although the actual number will likely be lower due to one-time savings realized by 32 vacant positions in the city, said City Manager Steve Kroeger.

Since 2004, retirement costs have increased by almost 10 percent each year. Health benefit payments have increased by 5 percent annually and overtime costs have risen by almost 8 percent each year. Comparatively, general fund revenues have increased by almost 3 percent a year over that same time period.

And required contributions to the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) will increase by 33 percent by 2021, which will add just less than $2.2 million to the city’s budget.

The city has handled the budget deficit in several ways. Employee furloughs have resulted in significant savings — without the 10 percent furlough, the projected deficit this year would be $4.2 million, Bertagna said.

The city has also used a reserve fund, the Economic Stabilization Fund, to balance the budget.

Currently, the fund has a balance of $4.5 million, which Kroeger said should sustain the city’s deficit through 2018.

In 2018, the city will have paid off its pension obligation bond. The city sold the bond to make a one-time PERS payment of about $7 million.

The bond was sold in the interest of saving money, as the bond’s interest rate is two percentage points lower than the unfunded liability rate that PERS charges the city, Kroeger said.

Even with the one-time payment, the city’s total unfunded PERS liability, representing the difference between the assets the city has to pay pension costs and the amount of pension obligations it has, is $53 million.

Kroeger said the city has planned well for the extended economic slump.

“It’s a downturn that most expected to recover sooner than it has,” Kroeger said. “The city’s conservative fiscal planning has served us well.”

CONTACT reporter Andrew Creasey at 749-4780 and on Twitter @AD_Creasey.

Well, FINALLY! Clerk posts CPOA filings, rec’d Feb. 20 – over two weeks late

24 Feb


She must have posted them yesterday, I looked over the weekend and they weren’t there.  Nothing exciting, just two pages – two pages that were required by law to be in the clerk’s office by January 31.

I don’t know if she fined them the suggested ($5 or $10?) a day. If you want to know, you can contact the clerk’s office at debbie.presson@chicoca.gov; heather.kavanaugh@chicoca.gov; dani.brinkley@chicoca.gov

Presson has two assistants, not just one as I had believed. What’s the problem down there? Health issues? After the week I’ve had, I don’t want to hear about your health issues.

We are less than two years from another election. If you are interested in helping out with ideas let me know. Tell me if you don’t want your comment posted.  I’ve been getting a lot of feed back from people who feel it is risky to talk publicly about the cops or fire department.  

That’s a sad commentary – our police union makes us afraid. 

Ain’t no sunshine!

25 Jan

Below is the original proposal from the Chico Police Officers bargaining unit to the city of Chico. This was posted on an agenda, because of our “sunshine” ordinance, but was later removed, I was told by a city councilor, at the request of the CPOA. Apparently, the public didn’t react too well to their demands – I had posted the link here – and the cops didn’t like the criticism. They removed the proposal below and put up a new diatribe with “explanations.” If Michael Jones had not saved this particular document, we wouldn’t have it.

I also have the city’s counter proposal, but I’m having a devil of a time cut-and-pasting it. The proposal below also included a cost analysis chart which I posted in a blob at the bottom – some of the figures wouldn’t even cut, make whatever you can out of it. The total cost of this proposal over three years, estimated by the CPOA, is more than $5 million.  There are no savings.

I have not had time to compare this to the new proposal they buried as an attachment to an old agenda on the city website but I’ll try to get to that again.  I also have the city’s counter proposal. I’ll try to get those posted soon.

This is not my job. This is the city manager’s and the assistant city manager’s job. Those guys get paid about $200,000/year each, plus benefits and pension. They don’t want the public to know this stuff. Pay attention. Constantin has already remarked that he wants a sales tax increase for public safety, the gauntlet is down. He also said he doesn’t think the cops are overpaid. Look over this proposal and tell me what you think.

Chico POA Proposal – September 24, 2014

The following is a proposal for a successor MOU to the one expiring 12/31114 between the Chico Police Officers’ Association and the City of Chico. This proposal is intended to begin the bargaining process and introduce several ideas that the POA believes can create a better environment within the City of Chico Police Department, specifically the Departments ability to retain and recruit police officers.

When possible, the current MOU provision that would be affected is listed. Wording is NOT final and will be edited to reflect any changes prior to submission to the City in formal bargaining.

1. Three year term ofMOU: 111115-12/31/17. 1.3A

2. Salary. 5% increase effective 1/1/15, 1/1116 and 1/1/17. 5.1 and Exhibit B

3. Longevity. Add four new longevity step increases of 4% at the following length of time of employment with the city: 10 years, 15 years, 20 years and 25 years. New Article 5.12 “Longevity Pay”

4. Pay Step Addition and Adjustment. 5.1C a. Add a Step H at 5% salary increase. b. Add a “training pay” step equivalent to $18 per hour.

5. Cash out Holiday Time Banlc Reinstate policy of allowing employees to cash out unused holiday time bank hours each year. 6.2

6. Vacation Cash Out. Allow employees to accrue vacation above the maximum caps and to cash out any unused vacation accrued above the caps at the end of each calendar year. 6.5

7. Holiday Hours. City shall provide ten hours of Holiday Time Bank pay for holidays. 6.1A

8. OT Pay for Holidays. City shall pay employees overtime rate for working holidays. 5.2 and 6.1

9. FICA and Dental to be paid by City. 6.3 J+tvY\ ~ z, Qv£A;1vuf C{(tf8t u: ~ a. City shall pay the 1.45% of FICA that has been paid by employees since 1/1111. 6.8G

b. City shall pay the entire employee portion of the dental insurance (or allow the employee to opt out of coverage).6.3 and Exhibit C.

10. Call Back Pay. Increase the call back minimum pay to four (4) hours. (3 currently). 5.5

11. Shift Differential. 5.9 a. Increase swing and graveyard shift differential pay by 5%. b. Shift differential to be calculated into base pay for overtime pay rate calculations.

12. Adopt and/or publicize the ability to put OT earnings directly into deferred compensation. 6.6E

CPOA Initial Proposal Estimated Costs/Savings Initial Proposal – 9/ 24/ 14 2) 5% Increase 3) Longevity 4a.) Additional “H” Step 4b.) “Training Pay” Step 5) HTB Payout 9a.) City Pick-Up of FICA 9b.) City Pick up of Dental 6) Vacation Cash Out 7) 10 Hours Holiday Time Bank 8) OT Pay for Holidays 10) 4 Hours vs 3 hours Call-Back 11) Shift Differential 1/1/15 – 12/31/15 1/1/16 – 12/31/16 1/1/17- 12/31/17 Total $ 447,360 $ 922,968 $ 1,438,726 $ 2,809,054 $ 222,622 $ 286,354 $ 364,010 $ 872,986 $ 328,847 $ 369,216 $ 385,040 $ 1,083,103 $65,637 for full-time FTE vs. hourly employees currently paid outside of CPOA From $200,000- $300,000 per year plus taxes/benefits $ 89,454 $ 90,136 $ 91,174 $ 52,954 $ 52,954 $ 52,954 Unknown- will take research to see who is at cap for the year Currently a “Use it or Lose it” Benefit Currently Coded as Straight-time- more research needed Need to look at individual timecards for analysis Need to look at individual timecards for analysis

Compare Chico and Redding by public pay and crime statistics

13 Jan

I’ve got a few links here I found interesting. The first are public pay reports from the State Controller’s Office. These charts are made with figures reported by the various cities and counties in California. I’ve posted the links for Chico and Redding. What I found is that salaries are similar, sometimes higher in Redding, but that Chico taxpayers pay more for benefits and pensions.

http://publicpay.ca.gov/Reports/Cities/City.aspx?entityid=79&fiscalyear=2013 – chico

http://publicpay.ca.gov/Reports/Cities/City.aspx?entityid=473&fiscalyear=2013 – redding

Below I have the latest crime statistics for Chico and Redding, also 2013. I was shocked to find,  Redding has a lot of violent crime. They also have a bigger population spread out over a larger geographic area, including a lot of riverfront and wild grasslands, but, according to the chart above, pay their cops and fire about the same as Chico.


Chico population – 88,226; Redding – 91,035

violent crime – 299;   585

murder/non-negligent manslaughter – 2;  2

rape – 41;  49

robbery – 95;  146

aggravated assault – 161;  388

property crime – 2,572;  3,774

burglary – 622;   742

larceny/theft – 1,568;  2,483

motor vehicle theft – 382;  549

arson – 37;  5  (NOTE: in 2013 we had a rash of couch fires in Chico)