Two Lodi bargaining groups made up of top city officials will be the first employees to pay the entire employee contribution portion of their pension costs.
Executive managers and employees appointed by the council, including the city manager, city attorney and city clerk, agreed to pay 7 percent of their pension costs, which is the maximum allowed by the state. They will begin paying at the start of the fiscal year, July 1.
Currently, the city pays the employer and employee share of pension costs for all workers.
“What we are looking to do is set the tone. We need to get to a point where employees are paying their pension costs,” City Manager Rad Bartlam said.
City staff is in the middle of asking all of its unions for concessions to balance the budget for next fiscal year.
The council unanimously approved concessions Wednesday night from four unions — executive managers, council appointees, confidential employees and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. In total, the agreements save the city $473,165.
Besides pension costs, the two management groups also agreed to a health care cap. Currently, an employee can choose from a variety of health care plans, and only have to pay $104 for a family plan premium regardless of which one they select.
With the new cap that will start Jan. 1, 2012, the city will still pay a majority of the plan, but they will only contribute an amount equal to the lowest cost health maintenance organization. So if an employee chooses a more expensive plan, they will have to make up the difference.
Managers agreed to waive the ability to cash out 20 hours of administrative leave in 2012. They also will continue to waive the city’s contribution to deferred compensation, which is an optional retirement account. But the group will not longer have furloughs the last Friday of every month.
The groups total saving is $155,415.
Below is a summary of the other two bargaining groups:
The confidential unit: This union includes a budget analyst, the city spokesman and some administrative secretaries who are privy to confidential information that excludes them from being in a union.
The group agreed to contributing 1 percent toward their pension, a cap on health care costs starting in January and six unpaid floating leave days. The groups total savings is $123,900.
IBEW: The group proposed reducing its utility operator hours from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Any calls for service when someone is not working are already picked up by an answering service that dispatches city employees. One position will be eliminated for a savings of $148,000.
The union also requested the city offer a two-year service credit to encourage three employees to retire early. One employee indicated they would consider it if the effective date was Dec. 31. This would save the city $45,850, and the amount could increase if the other two employees take it.