Statement issued from Roseville City Manager Ray Kerridge on police union negotiations and prudent fiscal policy.
What is the status of negotiations with the Roseville Police Union?
The Council imposed terms and conditions of its last, best and final offer (LBFO) at a May 30 Council meeting, which means the union still doesn’t have a contract. Those changes went into effect in mid-June. If the Police Union is not satisfied with its current standing and would like to negotiate a contract, the next move is theirs to make. Following established protocol, it’s up to union leaders to return to the bargaining table with a different proposal that also brings cost savings to the City. Nothing gets accomplished with PR stunts and campaigns of misrepresentation.
Why are officers being asked to contribute toward pension costs?
As any family or business does, the City must match ongoing expenses with ongoing revenues. Because the City’s ongoing expenses exceed its ongoing revenues, it has been patching this structural deficit with ‘one-time’ monies from savings, which are accounts such as the reserves and strategic improvement fund.
A key part of the City Council’s long-term strategy to close the budget gap is to have all employees contribute toward their pension costs. To that end, other city employee groups started paying toward their pension costs last year as their contracts expired. Since police officers are part of our workforce, they are not an exception to that policy.
So were only take-aways imposed at the May 30 City Council meeting?
No. First it’s important to note that the City increased police officers’ pay more than 6 percent between last July and December. And while it may seem counterintuitive to ‘impose’ benefits, that’s exactly what occurred at the May 30 Council meeting by increasing medical benefits and providing additional leave time when the last, best, and final offer (LBFO) was imposed.
How did the union’s auditors get the information in their report?
The information they used is readily known and available to everyone online. Roseville’s budgeting process is transparent and open to public input and inspection. There are no revelations in this audit. The way the City budgets, which includes setting aside special funds for special purposes, ‘puts the City in a good financial position,’ as their CPA noted.
The funds that are highlighted in the audit exist because the City set aside monies during better economic times for specific purposes. It is important to note that funds such as the Vehicle Replacement Fund pay for new police vehicles; the General Fund’s Capital Improvement Rehab Fund supports the upkeep and maintenance of the City’s physical assets such as parks, service centers, recreation centers, pools, and libraries; the Strategic Improvement Fund allows us to invest in our community by helping to pay for things such as downtown infrastructure improvements; and the reserves have helped us patch our structural deficit during challenging economic times.
The audit also highlighted the Citizens Benefit Fund, which is where the proceeds from the sale of Roseville Hospital were set aside by the City Council in 1994 as an endowment. The interest from this endowment helps fund non-profits and organizations to improve the quality of life of Roseville residents. Recipients of grants awarded last month by the City Council on recommendations from the Council-appointed Grants Advisory Commission include Roseville Police Activities League, Roseville Police Charitable Corporation, the Roseville Police Department, the Placer County Chaplaincy and the Gold Country Chaplaincy. To date, over $14 million has been awarded to Roseville organizations from the interest on this endowment.
Why can’t these funds be used to pay for police pensions?
The City places a strong emphasis on fair and competitive compensation of its workforce. This must also be balanced with our priority to provide excellent services and facilities to our businesses and residents. Were we to use these one-time monies to provide a special exception to police that the rest of our employees have already given up, we would have to make hard choices about the size of our workforce and the quality of our facilities and services. This is not a prudent way to run a city.
Roseville is in this strong financial position because our prudent budgeting approach has remained consistent during both strong and challenging economic times. This ensures Roseville continues to be the attractive place it is for our residents, businesses, and visitors.