|(Sept. 10, 2019, 3:05 a.m.) -- On September 17, Long Beach City Councilmembers will vote publicly on the terms of a new contract, negotiated and offered without LB taxpayer input to the LB Police Officers Association (LBPOA). The coming Council vote is a legal requirement but a substantive formality. The union's rank and file has already accepted the terms of the new three year contract offered to them by the Mayor/Council.
The new contract includes wage increases/benefits that a city management memo now reveals publicly for the first time will cost LB taxpayers $17.8 million from LB's General Fund over three years. [Source: city management agendized memo, Fiscal Impact section, p. 5 ] Management estimates the new contract will result in a roughly $6.3 million cost to LB's General Fund in FY20 alone (that it plans to cover with "one-time" revenue.)
A City Hall press release and mass emailing by Mayor Garcia don't include taxpayer cost numbers; LBREPORT.com waited until the agendizing memo was online to report the new contract's fiscal impacts.
The new contract includes a 3% "pension pickup" (cost-sharing) for "all Classic (pre-state pension reform) employees" that management estimates will "save" about $1.7 million; this "savings" is already included in management's estimate of the increased General Fund cost cited above. In a Sept. 9 mass emailing, Mayor Robert Garcia tells recipients that the "pension pickup" is a "significant pension reform.
The new contract and its wage/benefit increases comes on top of the now-expiring 2017 LBPOA contract (anounced by City Hall December 2016, roughly six months after LB voters approved the initial "temporary" Measure A) that had a then-estimated three year General Fund cost of $14.3 million.
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Since FY17, the Council has restored 22 citywide deployable officers for taxpayers out of 208 officers erased (leaving LB with 186 fewer budgeted officers than taxpayers had entering FY 2009.) On Sept. 3, 2019, the Council voted to approve a FY20 budget that provides no additional officer restorations for taxpayers.
The LB Police Officers Association (which didn't publicly oppose the officer reductions) was the largest single contributor ($225,000 as of June 30, 2016) to the Measure A sales tax increase. Voters approved the measure roughly 60% to 40% after being shown a City Council approved ballot title and text that stated: "[all caps in original] "CITY OF LONG BEACH PUBLIC SAFETY, INFRASTRUCTURE REPAIR AND NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICES MEASURE. To maintain 911 emergency response services; increase police, firefighter/paramedic staffing; repair potholes/streets; improve water supplies; and maintain general services..."
The leadership of LB 's police and firefighters unions have publicly supported a March 2020 ballot measure (supported by the Mayor, put on the ballot without dissent by the Council) that would make the Measure A General Fund ("blank check") sales tax permanent.
Expected in the coming weeks/months: a new agreement with the LB Firefighters Association. In April 2017, the Council approved a contract with the LB Firefighters union then-estimated to cost $7.2 million in additional General Fund sums by the end of Sept. 2019.
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