The City of Lodi will avoid laying off police officers under a budget agreement reached with the Police Officers Association of Lodi. The POAL and the City have worked together for the last two months to craft a side letter that accomplished savings to the General Fund. The City Council approved the deal Wednesday.
The police union members have agreed to contribute 3 percent of their pay toward pension costs, forego furlough time and continue to waive up to 3 percent in matching City funds toward a deferred compensation plan.
Although not part of the concession package, the deal will result in two vacant police officer positions. Both positions are currently unfilled, so no officers will be laid off. As part of the agreement, the City will extend the police officers’ contract through December 2011, so it expires concurrently with the majority of City labor agreements, while the POAL will dismiss its May 2011 Notice of Claim related to an alleged conflict of interest between City and union negotiators.
“I am very pleased that our police officers recognized the impacts furloughs have on the level of service they provide to the members of our community and stepped forward to absorb those impacts in their salary and benefit packages,” City Manager Rad Bartlam said. “This agreement represents a significant sacrifice, and ensures that our citizens will not lose the consistently high level of service they have come to expect from our Police Department."
Lodi’s City Council adopted a $40 million General Fund budget on June 1, including $16 million for the Lodi Police Department.
"The Police Officers Association is pleased that an agreement on a concession side letter and the claim were reached with the City,” POAL President Paul Blandford said. “The Association agreed to pay 3 percent of our contribution to the Public Employees Retirement System and to do away with furloughs. This should be a more sustainable solution for both the City and the Association and was able to cover the monetary number the City needed to balance the budget.
"The Police Officers Association was also able to come to a resolution with the claim filled with the City. The City and the Association both agreed that the claim would put an increased strain on an already stressed budget. The Association agreed to drop the monetary portion of the claim as the investigation into the matter will continue by an independent company."