Seal Beach council to discuss police contract in closed session

Interior of City Council Chambers. Three seats are up for election this November.

On Monday, Oct. 11, Mayor David Sloan pulled the police union contract off the consent calendar. Sloan said the memorandum of understanding between the Seal Beach Police Officers Association and the city would be discussed in closed session on Monday, Oct. 25.

As previously reported in the Sun, Seal Beach officers have been working without a contract since July 1.

Sloan did not say why the matter had been moved to a closed session of the council.

In a telephone interview on Monday, Oct. 18, Sloan said he could not discuss the matter because the three-year agreement was scheduled for the closed session meeting.

Councilman Gary Miller objected to the fact that City Manager David Carmany had provided information about the tentative agreement to the press. Miller said Carmany was negotiating through the press. The city issued a press release about the agreement after the city and the Police Officers Association reached a tentative agreement on officer compensation on Wednesday, Sept. 1.

The agreement was originally placed on the Monday, Sept. 13 council agenda. However, Carmany asked that the agreement be pulled off the agenda and continued until the Oct. 11 meeting.

“The staff report was pulled from the Sept. 13 council agenda so that staff could provide more in-depth fiscal analysis of major agreement terms with an itemized breakdown for each respective MOU by fiscal year,” Carmany wrote in a Sept. 19 e-mail to the Sun.

After the police memorandum of understanding was pulled from the Sept. 13 agenda, Carmany explained to the council that the new agreement included a change to the pension formula for police officers.

Previously, a police officer with 30 years experience could retire at age 50 with a pension formula of 3 percent per year of service. That worked out to a pension equal to 90 percent of the officer’s salary.

Carmany told the Sept. 13 council meeting that under the new agreement, once approved by the council, the pension formula for new hires would change to “2 percent at 50.” That would work out to 60 percent of the officer’s salary on retirement. This applies only to newly hired officers.

There will be no pay raises for the officers in fiscal year 2010-11 if the agreement is approved by the council. Instead, 30 sworn officers and one non-sworn police employee will receive a one-time payment of $1,000 each.

For the next two fiscal years, police officer pay raises will be tied to the local Consumer Price Index with a minimum of 2 percent and a maximum of 5 percent.

In an e-mail to the Sun, Bridgeport neighborhood resident Robert Goldberg pointed out that the current rate of inflation is below 2 percent. Goldberg believes Seal Beach Police Department pay raises have historically outpaced inflation.