Roseville, Calif.- The Roseville Police Officers’ Association (RPOA), representing 103 sworn police officers whose job it is to protect the Roseville community, announced today that contract talks with the City have broken down.
Both sides agreed to mediation, where a final agreement has not yet been reached. The next step in the process is to go to “Fact Finding”, where the City and RPOA would do extensive research, prepare briefs and statements, provide witnesses, testimony and exhibits which would be heard before an appointed “Fact Finding” panel who would make recommendations. Members of the RPOA voted Friday to forego Fact Finding to save police officers and Roseville taxpayers the cost and expense of a long drawn-out process, especially since the City has indicated that it intends to impose its last, best and final offer on its police officers.
“Why spend taxpayer dollars and the hard-earned income of our police officers on a process that won’t change the outcome,” said Jerry Wernli, President of the RPOA.
“Police officers’ jobs are dangerous, especially in this day and age when every community needs to be prepared for a Boston, a Sandy Hook or other catastrophic event,” Wernli said.
Wernli said contract negotiations for police officers who are dealing with violent criminals who oftentimes carry dangerous weapons should take into consideration the dangers of the job and the fact that these specially-trained first responders put their lives on the line even for something as simple as a traffic stop.
Negotiations with the City for a new police contract began last October. Recognizing the need to rein in pension costs, officers of the RPOA have been open to paying 9% of the employer portion of their pension costs. The City’s last, best and final offer will cut the take home pay of officers and sergeants by several thousands dollars a year.
Wernli asks that City leaders take into consideration the dangers police officers face protecting the community and provide more flexibility in ways police officers can contribute back.
“A majority of our police officers are residents of Roseville and we support paying more into our pensions to keep our City on solid financial footing,” Wernli said. “What worries us is our ability to retain and attract top-notch police officers to work in Roseville when neighboring departments offer much higher salaries and better benefits.”
According to Wernli, after paying for medical, dental, vision and pension contributions, Rocklin police officers and Placer County Sheriffs currently take home thousands of dollars more than Roseville police officers. If the City of Roseville imposes on its police officers, this will only widen the disparity in take-home pay that currently exists.
“If the City imposes a contract on us, not only could Roseville be losing seasoned officers, but we will have a difficult time hiring new officers to replace them – after all, they can go elsewhere and take home much more every month for their families,” Wernli said. “We are already down seven officer positions that have not yet been filled.”
The probability of losing experienced police officers is worrisome to Roseville community leaders. Prominent and long-time Roseville business owner Bill McAnally, of Bill McAnally Racing, is particularly concerned that paying police officers substantially lower wages will affect police protection services to Roseville residents and business owners.
“Our police officers do an amazing job protecting the Roseville community and keeping crime down,” McAnally said. “Our City is remarkably financially sound. I reach out to City leaders to ask them not to shortchange our police officers and to try to work out a contract that is fair to our police officers and our taxpayers.”
“Roseville’s police officers reach out to our City leaders and ask that you work with us to keep our police force strong and on the job protecting our community,” Wernli concluded. “Imposing a contract on our police officers will send a message to all of the Roseville community that our police officers are not a top priority in City government and will be devastating to Department morale.”