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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why I Am Not at City Council Right Now

Over a month ago, I registered for the annual League of California Cities in San Francisco, thinking that I could get a lower airfare and that the city budget would have been passed on September 13. Unfortunately, after the fact I learned that the newly negotiation contract with the Long Beach Police Officers Association would be on the agenda today. So I write this listening to the Council meeting in San Francisco. (By the way, my staff and the City Clerk worked very hard to try to arrange for me to participate via conference call - however, the hotel would not allow the public posting of the announcement required -- including my room number -- so I couldn't call in.)

I want to go on record that I support the contract. The LBPOA was entitled to a raise but the members stepped up and agreed to use 95% of their raise to pay the employees contribution portion of the pension and to agree that new hires in the PD would be placed on a lower retirement formula.

This is good for the city and the first step in getting full participation of our employee groups in paying their full share of their pension costs.

Remember, the LBPOA could have legally insisted on the terms and conditions of their current contract and they would wait until 2013 when the contract expires. They didn't. Their leadership and their membership understands that the City needs to make pension reform.

I look forward to moving forward on the proposals being offered by the Firefighters Association and the other bargaining units. Long Beach is fortunate to have excellent employee partners who want to work with the City to make the reforms needed. These reforms may not come as quickly as some in the public want -- but they are coming. And that's a very good thing for the city.

Save Station 18

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