Police, Gilroy have yet to reach an agreement

No plans for downtown police beat

More than a month after Gilroy’s police contract expired, the
city has yet to reach a new contract agreement with the police
union. Mitch Madruga, president of the Gilroy Police Officers
Association, said Monday he had hoped the council would reach an
agreement in a closed session during Monday’s council meeting.
More than a month after Gilroy’s police contract expired, the city has yet to reach a new contract agreement with the police union.

Mitch Madruga, president of the Gilroy Police Officers Association, said Monday he had hoped the council would reach an agreement in a closed session during Monday’s council meeting.

Mayor Al Pinheiro and members of the council said Tuesday that no announcement came out of the closed session that was devoted to the subject of contract negotiations with the union.

Conditions of the police officers’previous agreement with the city have remained in place since June 30 when that contract expired.

Although council members would not comment specifically on the ongoing talks, Councilman Dion Bracco said the city would make an announcement regarding the status of negotiations within the next couple of weeks.

City Council members have made it clear they want police to agree to a two-tier retirement system, in which new hires have cheaper retirement plans than current staff, after reaching a similar deal with firefighters in June.

Gilroy police officers now have a 3 percent at 50 plan retirement plan, meaning retired police receive annually 3 percent of their highest yearly salary for each year they worked. They can start collecting these benefits at age 50 and can collect up to 90 percent of their highest annual salary.

The city also pays employee contributions on behalf of police, totaling about 9 percent of their salaries – or $800,000 for all police annually. That is in addition to the 26.25 percent employer contribution the city makes toward police pensions, which totals about $2.3 million each year.

By contrast, all newly hired firefighters under the new fire plan, which will last through June 2013, will receive a scaled back “2 percent at 55” plan.

The maximum percentage of their salary that firefighters will be able to collect under the new system is about 75 percent of their top wage. The earliest firefighters could collect these benefits is at 55 years old.

In addition, all firefighters must contribute 9 percent toward their pensions, an amount the city formerly paid.

Under the old system – which still applies to current employees – firefighters received 3 percent yearly of their highest annual salary starting at 55 years of age, and could collect 90 percent of their top wage.

The GPOA typically meets with city Human Resources Director LeeAnn McPhillips and attorney Charles Sakai, who then informs the council about the union’s offer. The council can then accept it, modify it or reject it.

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