Thursday, March 19, 2009
The Salinas Police Officers Association Wednesday narrowly voted against taking a pay cut to help the city balance its budget. The police union, by a margin of 50-47, rejected the city’s offer to forgo a 5 percent pay raise scheduled for next month and take a 2.5 percent pay cut, with the option of paying the same amount into their health insurance policy, according to a union member who wishes to remain anonymous. The pay cuts would have lasted until July 2011.
The officers’ move could derail the city’s strategy to plug a $12.6 million budget gap next fiscal year and a $16.2 million deficit in 2010-11. Most non-public safety employee groups had tentatively agreed to 10 percent pay cuts but were waiting for the police union’s decision, says City Manager Artie Fields.
“It does create a challenge for us,” Fields says, adding that there other cost-saving options but declining to elaborate until he can talk with the City Council in closed session Tuesday.
Without employee concessions from all groups, more than 100 people could be laid off, city officials have said. SPOA President Chris Swinscoe declined to comment.