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County may impose contract on Sheriff’s association

Employees asking for third mediation attempt
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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Placer supervisors could impose a temporary end to long-standing negotiations between the county and the Deputy Sheriff’s Association. The contract between the county and association expired in December 2006 and despite two different mediation attempts, no agreement has been made. The board of supervisors is expected to review a “last, best and final offer” from the county to the association at their meeting next Tuesday, according to Tom Miller, Placer County CEO. The offer, if approved by the supervisors, would be in effect for one year and require employees in the association to contribute more to their medical and retirement plans and reduces their wellness incentive from 5 percent to 2.5 percent, Miller said. Negotiations would also continue. Miller said the move could save the county about $800,000. However, association president Josh Tindall indicated in a letter to the board of supervisors that the association would rather proceed with another mediation attempt. He said association members are prepared to continue working under the current expired contract terms and have provided savings proposals to the county in the past. Those savings proposals include increasing employee contributions to medical and retirement contributions, freezing wellness incentive pay, and suspending holiday pay, meal reimbursements and the on-duty workout and training program, Tindall wrote. Tindall also wrote that the public safety budget was balanced for the fiscal year 2009-10. The balance included salary and benefits for both association and non-association members, Tindall wrote. “This was done under almost unheard of and unreachable expectations,” Tindall wrote. Miller countered that the budget is not balanced. “Due to a decline in public safety sales tax and a decline in payments from the state court, there will be a $3.8 million revenue shortfall next year just for public safety,” Miller said Monday. According to Miller, the association and county have entered into mediation twice since 2006. Both periods lasted between four to six months and were not successful. “They’ve just been not productive,” Miller said. “Rarely do you spend three years in negotiations overall.” Miller said that sheriff’s association members will continue to receive mandated pay raises from the voter-approved Measure F. In February, association employees received raises ranging between 6.29 and 6.31 percent. “Next February, even with labor concessions, we’re anticipating still receiving Measure F and it will probably be about 5 percent,” Miller said. Tindall also questioned in his letter to the board why public safety savings would be put into the county’s reserve fund. Miller said that is not true, but it will be up to the board of supervisors to decide where that money will be spent. He said the county is facing a $25 million deficit next year. Tindall said association members understand the economic challenges the county faces. “Whether or not the current economic climate is suitable to try and obtain a labor contract is unknown,” Tindall wrote to the board. “If this board deems a contract is necessary, we suggest both parties pursue mediation just as the DSA agreed to the county’s request to go to mediation in the spring of 2007.” Attempts to speak with association representatives were unsuccessful as of press time. Jenifer Gee can be reached at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com