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Police, city still negotiating contract concessions; claim threatens process

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Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 11:44 am | Updated: 5:19 am, Sat Jun 11, 2011.

The Lodi Police Officers Association has agreed to benefit and salary concessions, but the claim they filed last month threatens to derail the negotiations.

City Attorney Steve Schwabauer said he will recommend that the Lodi City Council reject the agreement until a claim the union filed for more than a $1 million in past wages and benefits is settled. Filing a claim is the first step toward a lawsuit.

"We are trying to close our budget and there's an open budgetary issue, obviously," Schwabauer said.

The city does not want to accept a concession agreement that doesn't address potential litigation costs in case the union did move forward with the suit, Schwabauer said.

The Lodi City Council will consider the agreement and hear a report on the negotiations at their meeting Wednesday.

The union filed a claim with the city in mid-May that said concessions agreements during the past two years are invalid because the lead negotiators for the union and city had a business together.

The bargaining group alleges that Human Resources Director Dean Gualco and Lodi Police Sgt. Sierra Brucia started Brucia-Gualco Consulting Company to work as labor consultants.

Union representatives say the relationship voids the five different concession agreements the unions signed starting from February 2009 to June 2010.

All of the city's unions have reached concession agreements, with the exception of the officers' association. If the city and the police union do not reach an agreement, the alternative is laying off four officers in the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.

The city and the bargaining group have been in negotiations for weeks. Schwabauer said the city has not been able to discuss the claim during the concession talks because the union's attorney has not attended any of the previous meetings.

During negotiations, Lodi Police Officers Association President Paul Blandford said the union did not have an attorney there, because they were not asked to have one present.

The city and union met again on Friday, and Blandford said their attorney was present.

"I'm optimistic that something may come about. I'm optimistic that an agreement may be reached," Blandford said.

The union agreed to four concessions, including paying 3 percent of the employee pension costs. Previously, the city paid all of the employee and employer share of pension costs.

"The police association agreed to pay 3 percent of their PERS contribution and get rid of furloughs. It gets the city the number they need to achieve their budget goals," Blandford said.

He said furloughs were a temporary fix and did not address the actual program.

The group also waived all of their holiday cash-out, with the exception of $59,100. When an officer works a holiday, they can cash out those hours if they do not have the option of taking a day off at another time. Schwabauer said previously the amount was set at $90,000.

The city will also receive savings from having police officers on higher-cost health care plans switch to one geared toward officers that is lower-cost. The union will also encourage up to 25 other non-sworn employees in the department to join the police health care plan as associate members.

The city is planning an independent investigation of the union's claim that Gualco and Brucia had a business together.

The city has hired consultant Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai to investigate the claim that the two employees had an outside business.

The contract is hourly because the investigator cannot estimate how many people will be interviewed, but Schwabauer said he does not expect the costs to exceed $10,000.

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com or read her blog at www.lodinews.com/blogs/city_buzz.

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  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 11:03 am on Sat, Jun 11, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    We will see... however, I cannot imagine any rational human being thinking that Lodi or any other city in California is economically in good shape... if there are extra funds, I would hope that it could be saved for a soon to be rainy day that is very likely to be coming. For the union to be pushing hard for more... is financial insanity and a slap to the face of Lodi citizens.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 8:53 pm on Fri, Jun 10, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    The document/agenda is here on the city website in pdf form.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 8:51 pm on Fri, Jun 10, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Darrell, please read the documents that are also the agenda for the council meeting on Tuesday. It corellates the fact that the city may not be honest upfront about the financial condition of it general fund and the ploy may be that they (city) are crying poor, when that may not be the real truth. The real truth will be revealed at Tuesday's 7AM council meeting, hopefully, barring no cancellation or absent council members or management. This should be very interesting and I'm hoping to be there.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 3:04 pm on Fri, Jun 10, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Sounds like a union pattern. I clearly remember the school union and teachers publicly stating that the district was hiding 15 million similar to what you just posted...suspected... and after the school board election where pro union board members were elected to fight all this corruption, not one peep was mentioned about all this hidden money... Not one sentence or mention of this topic since the election...
    One might think that the union was playing dirty... but who knows.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 2:30 pm on Fri, Jun 10, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Thank you Mr. Scott, for bringing up an interesting point. There will be a shirtsleeve meeting next Tuesday morning at 7AM concerning this same issue concerning the Lodi firefighters. Mr. John Johns, ffinancial consultant for the Lodi Professional Firefighters Association, will give a presentation to Lodi city council and the city manager regarding revenue creation ideas. After reading the agenda and legal documentation for this presentation, it appears as though the city of Lodi has access to other revenues thaat are suspected of not being disclosed. This alleged extra revenue is calculated to reduce Lodi's budget deficit from $4.2 million to approximately $870,000. That's quite a monetary difference when presenting numbers to the police and fire departments of Lodi concerning the ongoing labor contract negotiations concerning these two entities. I urge anyone interested to attend this shirtsleeve/special meeting this Tuesday at 7AM to learn whether your city leaders are giving the correct figures concerning the budget deficit of $4.2 million or merely using an inflated figure to cry poor at the contract negotiations of the police and fire contracts. To see the documents this information came from, just go to the agenda documents for the city council shirtsleeve/special meeting on Tuesday June, 14, 2011 and read the 10 page document. I'm sure this will also complicate the negotiations with the Lodi police department as well. Or this link:


  • Jackson Scott posted at 12:37 pm on Fri, Jun 10, 2011.

    Jackson Scott Posts: 381

    Interesting. This Gualco-Brucia relationship is even more interesting. Their consulting business could really mess things up top to bottom on these concessions.



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