San Jose Mayor Pushes Police Contract with 20 Percent Raises

San Jose is poised to give its police officers a sizable pay raise, starting with a 10 percent increase by summer and another 10 percent phased in over the following two years.

The contract, which comes up for a City Council vote Tuesday, would also grant one-time $5,000 retention bonuses and an additional 3.75 pay bump for officers who complete mandatory crisis-intervention training.

The tentative agreement comes after years of political fighting between the city and its unions, which blamed voter-approved pension reforms for depleting the police force.

According to the latest tally, the San Jose Police Department has nearly 200 vacancies and one of the lowest cop-to-resident ratios of any major city in the U.S. Since 2012, 300 SJPD officers have resigned and 217 have retired. In 2016 alone, another 21 resigned and 39 retired. Of the 1,109 budgeted positions, only 875 officers are considered patrol-ready.

Source: City of San Jose

Source: City of San Jose

“We have almost 200 vacancies in our police department currently—with ample money in the budget to hire cops, but no qualified officers to take the job,” Mayor Sam Liccardo wrote in a memo signed by Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco and Councilman Raul Peralez. “Simply, we cannot hire officers fast enough—despite considerable gains in our academy recruiting—to compensate for the retirements and departures, and we continue losing ground to this day.”

Take-home pay for most San Jose officers is about $15,000 less than what’s offered in Oakland and San Francisco, they added. And the proposed labor agreement would make San Jose more competitive with other regional agencies.

“Moreover, unlike pension and retirement giveaways of more than a decade ago, the higher salaries come at a cost that is completely transparent to our taxpayers,” Liccardo’s memo reads. “Taxpayers know exactly what we’re paying, and our officers know what they’re getting. No unfunded liabilities, no optimistic scenarios, no hidden costs.”

The pact also includes concessions such as longer rotation of patrol officers on each beat from six months to a year, so cops can become better acquainted with the communities they police. It expands the responsibilities of un-sworn community service officers to give sworn officers more time to focus on high-priority calls.

The contract requires cadets to pay the city back for academy training if they voluntarily leave San Jose within their first five years of service. But it also offers a $7,500 incentive for recruiting cadets or officers from other agencies.

In a message to his constituents, Councilman Johnny Khamis raised concerns about the contract, calling the city’s overall budget and pension costs unsustainable.

“[T]he City Council will vote this Tuesday on a new contract with our police union, the San Jose Police Officers’ Association, that, when fully implemented, will amount to a 22 percent pay increase and have an annual price tag of about $48.5 million,” he wrote in his February newsletter. “Where would this put us in three years?”

According to Khamis’ calculations, the new police contract along with pension liabilities and one-time funded items that will need additional cash in the next fiscal year, this would bring the projected deficit in 2020 to more than $66 million.

“It’s important that we live within our means while keeping the promises we made to the voters to deliver on the things we said we’d deliver on,” he concluded. “There may be budgetary clouds on the horizon, but let’s be sure we’re not creating dark clouds of deficits by our own actions.”

Source: City of San Jose

Source: City of San Jose

More from the San Jose City Council agenda for February 7, 2017:

  • The city has weak controls over its mobile devices, according to a new audit. San Jose owns more than 4,000 mobile devices such as cellphones, laptops, hotspots and tablets, which collectively cost about $3 million. In addition, wireless service comes with a $670,000 annual price tag while cellphone data stipends for some 500 employees cost about $250,000 every year. “The city has weak controls on mobile device inventories,” City Auditor Sharon Erickson wrote in her report. “There is no central inventory of mobile devices in the city; departments are expected to track and manage the mobile devices utilized by their staff. However, most departments did not keep complete inventories of all mobile devices; when records were maintained, they were not in central locations.” She made 16 recommendations for improving the current system to rein in costs.
  • The city plans to host a reception for the newly appointed Vice Mayor Carrasco. The event takes place Friday at the Mexican Heritage Plaza.
  • A half-off discount on public park fees offered to downtown high-rises may get amended to incentivize developers to hire union workers.

WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260

Jennifer Wadsworth is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

16 Comments

  1. Oh boy, our sterile and artificial downtown is gonna’ cost us taxpayers buckets of money. First, developers who build downtown high-rises will get a 50% discount on park fees… isn’t that special?! Second, developers building in downtown San Hoser may soon be required to hire union workers exclusively. Hmm, somehow we the taxpayers will pay for this as well. And for what? To stimulate growth in our downtown. As I’ve said many times, 98% of San Hoser residents don’t give a sh*t about downtown!

  2. Wonder what ever happened to Reed’s original rational argument that San Jose would be bankrupted by the police pensions? To my knowledge this was not mentioned during the last election when pension raises were reinstated.

  3. Listen to the Reed trolls slither out from under their rocks….. I suspect those cops pay taxes too along with their 21.9% contribution. So I guess theyre footing their own raise by the Reed sphincter lickers logic….

  4. Really Sam? Are you expecting “savior status?” Here’s a thought.. maybe originally protecting our police force when Mayor Reed began destroying it would have been a better plan. Our city is not safe, Sam. Not safe and the blood is on the hands of all of you that let it happen.

  5. “Only 875 officers are patrol ready” try posting the actual facts of less than 800 officers, more like mid 700’s for a city that has a population of over 1 million and that’s not counting the undocumented people.
    My wife and I moved out of San Jose a year but still visit our friends and family there. In just 1 year SJ has gotten so bad that we are considering not visiting there anymore. What a shame, San Jose was once a beautiful city.

  6. > Councilman Johnny Khamis raised concerns about the contract, calling the city’s overall budget and pension costs unsustainable.

    I think the boys down at the SJPD need to realize that they’re headed for another train wreck.

    California and other states have MAMMOTH unfunded pension liabilities. TRANSLATION: People who think they’re going to get big checks in the future are going to get smaller checks. Public employee retirement plans everywhere WILL be taking haircuts.

    The repugnant Mayor Lick-a-rod may actually be right for once: “… unlike pension and retirement giveaways of more than a decade ago, the higher salaries come at a cost that is completely transparent to our taxpayers” Take the money and run.

  7. >>> ”San Jose is poised to give its police officers a sizable pay raise, starting with a 10 percent increase by summer and another 10 percent phased in over the following two years” <<>> ”The contract requires cadets to pay the city back for academy training if they voluntarily leave San Jose within their first five years of service” <<<
    San Jose PD now no longer hires recruits. They hire indentured servants who, in exchange for “safe passage” into the law enforcement world are “Indentured” for five years . No sane recruit is going to agree to such a 5-year indenture.

    Here’s a better idea. Send out “press gangs”

    • “The contract requires cadets to pay the city back for academy training if they voluntarily leave San Jose within their first five years of service.”

      After a wall was erected dividing the city and imprisoning East Berliners, no amount of Soviet propaganda could prevent the free world from recognizing it for what it was, a symbol of the indisputable rot that was communism. Now, with the erection of a training-expense reimbursement program, the San Jose police department unveils its own powerful symbol, that of the institutional rot left in the wake of the Chuck Reed administration. Through the proud application of a stunning level of arrogance and ignorance, Chuck Reed, Sam Liccardo, Pierluigi Oliverio, et al., brought dilapidation and despair to what was once a destination department. SJPD should dedicate a wall to these people, preferably one with an attached row of urinals.

      Imagine yourself a highly-qualified young person in the market for a law enforcement job faced with a choice between dozens of higher-paying departments and one in which the pay is in line with the lower-paid departments but one that comes with a very undesirable string attached. How willing would you be, as a novice with far more questions about the job than answers, to lock yourself down to a workplace about which you know next to nothing?

      Despite the just-announced pay incentives, the training-expense reimbursement will act as an incentive-killer to all but a few of the best candidates. Worse, its value as a revenue-protecting scheme may be zero, as the judicial system has consistently found it incompatible with existing labor laws (something SJPD should know, having, in the pre-Reed days, hired a number of similarly encumbered lateral officers).

      http://www.vtzlawblog.com/articles/wage-and-hour-issues/expense-reimbursement/

  8. 2000 officers. 1500 officers. 700 officers. What’s the difference? I haven’t noticed any. But who am I? Just a citizen. Low man on the totem pole.
    Nothing against our straightjacketed men and women in blue but as long as they are prevented from performing what I consider to be their most important duties- enforcing our immigration laws and enforcing ordinances against trespassing and camping on public property- then as far as I’m concerned we might as well not even have a police department.
    Since the passing of so called draconian Measure B I have not felt any uptick in threat to my personal safety or property. I’ve felt just as on my own as I did back in the “glory days” of SJPD. But I HAVE noticed an uptick in the amount of time I waste and the amount of money I lose trying to compete in a business that has been taken over by illegal aliens who are quite happy to work for way less money than I am.
    Thanks Lick-a-rod. Thanks Rocha. Thanks Lofgren.
    I know it’s not the cops’ fault that they’re not allowed to do their jobs, but should I be happy about paying them more not to do it?

    • Mr. Galt,

      “2000 officers. 1500 officers. 700 officers. What’s the difference? I haven’t noticed any.”

      You mind me of my grandfather. He would always say that he had been smoking for years, since he was 14, and nothing has ever happened to him. At age 63, he died of lung cancer.

      The costs of homeowners insurance (due to rising crime rates) is going up; as is auto insurance, due to rising auto theft rates. At least we’re saving money on cops…if you don’t count the astronomical amount of overtime pay that the poor b*stards are earning when they are not sleeping in a camper shell in the police parking lot.

  9. Watch how many smart cops take the pay hike and retire out at a higher retirement payout. I would!
    Reed and Constants created an exodus of public employees that SJ residents will never recover from without continually raising taxes to hire and train new employees. Many of those employees with 10/20/30/40 years experience and institutional knowledge have joined the exodus and are long gone. The sad fact is Reed and Constants convinced ignorant voters into their little scheme. Reed and Constants now live off their comfortable public pensions! What a pity!

    • I had 25 years of experience and we were treated in my last eight years like the employee was the problem. The very first day I could leave I did, I don’t want to work where I am not appreciated, but rather tolerated under chuck reeds regime. He was a bitter old man. You can not turn your back on experience, I did so many things for the city of San Jose, I am on to bigger and better things. I miss my old coworkers and I always gave my best to the taxpayers of San Jose. Reed was a horrible manager and thousands of employees all throughout San Jose thought he was the grinch , very unmotivational , not caring, and had a nasty disposition and was not trusted by the employees. I really was no way to run the tenth biggest city in America. The new regime under Locarno seems to understand that employees are to be valued. I drove the city manager and sent in ten requests for early outs since mid level employees were not being respected.mj

      • I am still grateful to represent the city of San Jose as an employee and goodwill ambassador to the residents who are wonderful people. Thank you city of San Jose, I love my time there and I thought I made the most of it.

  10. The city of San Jose must learn to live within its means without shifting unacceptable financial burdens on the taxpayers. I recommend a no vote on any Police Department Pay Package that subjects San Jose to 68 million debt that is unfunded. The projected cost to the city are unacceptable and only subjects the voters to higher taxes they care unable to afford. In the words spoken by Councilman Johnny Khamis, we are heading for a train wreck. .

    • Mr. Biggs,

      The Police and Fire Department retirement system was not bankrupting the City. Voters were simply duped by a clever and self-serving political hoax perpetrated by Chuck “P.T. Barnum” Reed and perpetuated by Sam “Soapy” Liccardo.

      Mayor Reed failed to mention the approximate $24,000,000+ a year that public safety employees in San Jose pay into the retirement system. Neither did he mention that the City benefits from millions that it receives using investment credits on the surplus funds in the retirement system account. Now that the stock market is going back up and the City will be receiving a greater return on their investments, the retirement fund will be sustainable, as has always been the case.

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