Blogging Bayport Alameda

December 11, 2012

Cost sharing is caring

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Tags: , , — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

Tonight, the City Council will be voting on a new MOU for police and fire which includes huge concessions from the bargaining units with regards to health care  and post-retirement benefits.    Some will think it still doesn’t go far enough, but short of eliminating the two departments altogether, I don’t think some folks would be pleased with any MOU.

Right now all bargaining units are paying 9% of their salary to pension premiums, that is being raised to 15%.   Just to provide a frame of reference, the recent legislation that passed allows cities to impose a maximum of 12% starting in 2018, so the fact that we’re getting 15% from our bargaining units now is huge.

Also in the MOUs are the agreement that final retirement amount will be based on three years average instead of the last year which should avoid a lot of the pension spiking that has happened in the past.   by “in the past” I don’t know if this has happened in Alameda but we’ve all read about it happening elsewhere.

According to the staff report there are no salary bumps during the first six months, and much like the MOU that was negotiated for the Executive staff (City Manager, etc.) there will only be salary bumps if the City does well.

There’s also an educational incentive that staff can receive, but it’s only based on if the individual staff does continuing education

Another big thing is the cost sharing for the health premiums.

So here’s what this looks like over the lifetime of the MOU:


And here is what it will look like with the Education Incentive:




  1. The current MOU is only part of the picture that I think residents/taxpayers deserve to know about. Yes, if we are giving a pass/fail grade to this bargaining agreement, it passes. Significant and noteworthy concessions have been made. Thank you!

    What I would like to see is a line graph – projected graph, hunch graph – something that shows when the two lines, revenue and expenditures for the entire city that have been heading away from each other reach parallel. I know we can’t do everything in one year or two years. I just want to have some idea – roughly – of when we are likely to be living within our means. There has to be a goal, or we will never get there.

    I appreciate all the graphics you provide, Lauren, but honestly, the screen shot above, for me anyway, could just as well be a printout of winning lottery numbers.

    Comment by Richard Bangert — December 11, 2012 @ 8:08 am

  2. I would take a closer look at this new Career Development Incentive Program. It appears that most will qualify for it immediately and it seems to be awarding the firefighters for years of service. In other words, it is just another name for Longevity Pay. The cost for this benefit will be very expensive.

    Comment by Karen Willis — December 11, 2012 @ 10:26 am

  3. Ms. Willis,
    As it happens, I asked exactly your question to Mr. Russo. He replied that, as of today, 41 fire department employees are eligible for the level one bonus; 28 employees are eligible for the level two bonus, and 12 employees are eligible for the level three bonus. Thus, out of 98 sworn personnel, 81 already qualify for a bonus.
    The spreadsheet attached to the staff memorandum estimates the cost of the Career Development Incentive Program for the fire department to be $1,753,960 (bonus and associated PERS benefits) thru FY 2016-17.

    Comment by Robert Sullwold — December 11, 2012 @ 10:52 am

  4. #2 is an odd comment if it’s actually coming from the City’s former Director of Human Resources.

    The focus on firefighters is odd given that Police Officers have received in the past, and continue to receive longevity pay (aka retention pay) but it doesn’t warrant a comment.

    The new contract being voted on tonight removes a “me-too” clause that was literally put into the FF’s contract by Ms. Willis and former ICM Gallant in 2009. This clause gave firefighters the same retention pay benefits as the police, none which have ever been paid. There was a grievance filed in 2009, it has not yet been resolved and the city’s outside legal counsel (2 separate lawyers actually) say that if this were to go to arbitration, the city would definitely lose and owe $7.1 million in back pay.

    In the new contract, the me-too clause is removed and the $7.1 million in back-pay is dropped. In return (because it’s a negotiation that requires give and take), the new contract proposes merit-pay bonuses for those individual who get and maintain certain educational certifications that assist the department. This will cost the city $2.5 million over the contract (ending in 2017).

    It’s a net $4.6 million savings to the city on top of an additional ~$1 million in savings from the rest of the contract.

    After these contracts are signed, Alameda Police Officers will still have retention pay, which means they get pay bumps for staying in the department longer and Firefighters will have education pay, which means they get pay bumps for having specific certifications that are kept up to date.

    You can read the legal opinion here;

    Comment by jkw — December 11, 2012 @ 11:30 am

  5. I would like to clarify the comment posted by Mr. Sullwold (#3 above) with regards to the number of firefighters who would currently be eligible for the Career Development Incentive. While his addition is correct, his assumptions are not. The Career Development Program proposed for the Fire Department requires that employees qualify at each level and maintain those qualifications moving forward through each ensuing level. This is unlike retention pay which requires only years of service to attain each level. So, of the 41 firefighters who currently would qualify for the level 1 incentive, 28 also qualify for level 2 incentive, and 12 qualify for level 3. There are redundancies in employees qualifying at level 2 and 3 and the total number of those who would receive the pay is 41, not 81. Hope this clears up that misconception.

    Comment by Mike D'Orazi — December 11, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

  6. Richard Bangert (#1) asks about the fiscal impact of the new public safety contracts. Here’s the answer: based on the data in the spreadsheet that is so hard to read, the net effect of the proposed MOUs is to add $1.6 million over the four years of the contracts to the deficits already projected for the City during that period. And, if you factor in the cost of the additional fire captain who will be hired in 2013, which is not included in the spreadsheet, that figure goes up to about $2.6 million. Rather than seeing the lines of revenue and expense grow closer together, this deal moves them farther apart, and hastens the point where we have exhausted our reserves. If the City’s projections are accurate, our reserve balance will be less than $4.5 million by June 30, 2016, and we will be $1.4 million in the hole by June 30, 2017.

    Comment by Jane Sullwold — December 11, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

  7. Alameda firefighters will bankrupt the city!
    Just a matter of time.

    Comment by tom — December 11, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog at