City, Unions Extend Negotiating Deadline

UPDATE: On Monday, public safety unions for police and firefighters signed a joint agreement to extend talks on pension reform with the city. This action follows three labor unions representing engineers and architects (AEA), maintenance supervisors (AMSP), and management personnel (CAMP) signing a similar deal Friday.

The City Council was expected to vote Tuesday on whether it should declare a fiscal and public safety emergency and put measures on the ballot that tackle unsustainable public employee retirement benefits. That vote has now been tentatively scheduled for a special meeting on Friday depending on whether or not the city comes to similar agreements with the eight other unions. Police and firefighter unions are scheduled to meet with the city early next week, according to city officials.

Mayor Chuck Reed has repeatedly said that rising pension costs are putting the city at risk of having to declare bankruptcy in coming years. On Friday, Reed had a much more positive, optimistic message.

“I want to thank AEA, CAMP and AMSP for their leadership in working to solve San Jose’s pension problems,” the mayor said in a statement. “These three bargaining units came to the table and agreed to sacrifice 10 percent in total compensation, saving jobs and services. Now, they are tackling the issues impacting San Jose’s long-term fiscal stability. I hope our other bargaining units will join this effort.”

The mayor also said that the Oct. 31 deadline in the agreement’s “framework provides substantial time to negotiate the complex issues of pension reform, reach a resolution in time to achieve savings for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, and go to the voters during a March election.”

Officials for the three unions, City Manager Debra Figone, Employee Relations Director Alex Gurza and his deputy GIna Donnelly all signed the agreement.

While a vote on declaring a state of emergency will have to wait, Tuesday’s council meeting is expected to feature the approval of a large number of agreements with committees, contractors and consultants. There will also be discussion on the future of San Jose’s Redevelopment Agency, which could be eliminated when Gov. Jerry Brown signs the state budget. On Thursday, Brown vetoed a budget sent to him by Democrats.

During the last council session, the mayor’s budget was approved by a 7-4 vote, with councilmembers Ash Kalra, Kansen Chu, Xavier Campos and Pete Constant all opposed to the mayor’s proposal.

Click Here to Read the Agreement.

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.

42 Comments

  1. Glad to see the Unions and the City finally working together.  San Jose has real problems, but they will only be solved when everyone tackles the problem head on.  They need to get to work immediately and not waste a second.

  2. This is a very positive step by the City and these three Unions to preserve and honor collective bargaining. I would encourage the remaining City Unions to make similar commitments.

  3. Why doesn’t the Council vote to move move money from the Capital and “Special Projects” Fund into the the General Fund? Currently the City pays the lowest amount for Public Safety in the State. Then there would not be a “Fiscal Emergency?”

    • SJ Resident,

      Chuck-O and his band of benighted council members will tell you that capital and special funds cannot be used for general fund expenses.  What they will not tell you is that hundreds of millions of future dollars could easily be reallocated to the general fund simply by updating the city charter and rewriting municipal ordinances. 

      Were that to happen, the payola, graft and grease would all cease and the lobbyists and developers would fall away like ticks on a dead dog.  Chuck-O and the council are bound and determined to retain the capital and special slush funds for their own amusement, e.g. building a stadium in the otherwise sterile downtown monument to billions already wasted.

  4. That would make too much sense! This irresponsible mayor and his minion council members dont get it. They have brainwashed everyone into thinking the city is broke. The little pots of gold are hidden all over the place. Its a big shell game…. Just 3 unions agreed??? Hmmm seems to me that all the unions have come to the table and given 10 and also have attempted to negotiate pension reform which the city has chosen to push off into side letters. They are trying to buy time to craft their ballot for Nov. They want it all and are the culprits when it comes to an impasse…… The ship is no longer sinking. We are officially the Titanic

  5. Public safety does not hold fund raising or bribes. if city workers want to play like the rest of the wealthy who reap huge rewards from public officals influence they will need to lobby these elected crooks. They are not going to take money out of their piggy banks and spend it on something that does not pay them. The mayor needs that money for the ball park.
      If the unions wanted to force the elected To play fair they would go to the ballot for the ball park and make it illegal for a city offical to accept a dime of lobbyist money while in office.
      Stop the cost recovery bonus that all these city officals collect especially for the mayor manager and council. Ever wonder why you have never heard exactly how much any of these folks make in the way of bonus pay?

  6. American values of hard work in solving challenges have rarely failed us. Any time problems arise, solutions from people working together in good faith usually overcome those problems. Here we see the Mayor working in good faith with the unions to address a nasty set of financial issues.  The public good must be served. Keep the polemics out of these issues. Common sense solutions that encourage a vital, problem solving public servant to remain on the job will serve us much better that quick hatchet dropping on services. Otherwise, we will end up with poor choices. Let’s avoid San Jose becoming the place where: “Quick, Cheap, and Good, pick any two” becomes the new motto.

    • “Here we see the Mayor working in good faith….”

      Where have YOU been. That statement is so far from the truth, it is crazy. Just goes to show how much the public REALLY does not know and how much they have been snowed.

      • Did you read the doc at the end of the original post?  It is a fair framework for negotiations that requires both sides to justify their numbers, projections and proposals using an actuary.

        The agreement is a necessary evil but it is also an indication that retirement reform is needed, is going to happen and that the bargaining table is the best place to make an agreement and not the ballot box.

        There won’t be a ballot measure jammed down the unions throats in November as a result of this agreement.  Now if we can just get the head of the largest city union to change her opinion that the pension crisis is imaginary we may see some fair reforms.

  7. Glad to see three unions not willing to load on the trains to certain death.  Some will go down to the last person.  Others will think it’s the titanic.  Even the titanic had survivors.  The last one died this year.
        Better to go in honor than to be placed on your knees by the master.  Unions are the last place for decent wages and living conditions

    • MEF and CEO got imposed on. They didn’t give it up. They basically saw the “certain death” if they agreed to either of city’s proposals. All I can say to them is continue the fight and stay strong! You make us proud.

      • Tell that to the hundreds of their members that are getting walked to the door because their leadership is inept.  The numbers don’t lie, the deficit is real and unions can make a choice:  continue the fight or save jobs.  Several unions chose to save jobs and get real about reform others howled at the moon and their membership suffered.  They chose to get imposed on, they have a basic math problem…they can’t count votes and in this city you need 6 on the council to get something done.  I suggest a remedial math class and a dose of reality for these unions that make you so proud.

        Tell it to the honest, hard working civil servant that dedicated themselves to the service of their city who now has no job so that some can make a point.

        • They didn’t get sh!t shoved down their throats. They still have a fight. They didn’t sign away their souls, which would have left them with “lose this or lose that”. When I say fight, I don’t mean the concessions. Everybody wants to do their share, no doubt about it. MEF and CEO offered a 10% pay reduction , reduction in sick leave pay out, increase in their share of medical plus higher co-pays and more. City rejected their offer, didn’t negotiate and then TOOK 12.01% of their pay, all of the sick pay and more. But…MEF & CEO didn’t sign away their soul. They can still fight for anything that was not legal. Others who signed everything away do not have a fight. So, you see, those people who are getting laid off are getting laid off even after the City imposed on the unions for what they wanted. Don’t blame the layoffs on the unions. And yes, I am proud that they stood strong and didn’t let the City walk all over them or bluff them. So what you are talking about is not what I was referring to. Try to stop leaping before you know what you are talking about.

          To MEF & CEO, continue to stand strong for what is right and fair.

        • Here’s a dose of reality for you: The unions had contracts imposed on them; hundreds of their members are getting walked to the door despite your beloved City completely getting its way 100% with the contracts. The City’s “numbers”, particularly those based on adjustable future expectations like the pension budgets, do lie, just like City leaders lie when they state that millions of dollars from the Capital Fund and various special funds holding billions of dollars and funded by the City’s taxpayers cannot be transferred to the General Fund to pay for City services to these taxpayers, even during a “fiscal emergency.” Get a clue.

        • It keeps going lower and lower.  Unions should fight for their members and the most basic fight is for their jobs.  Great that MEF is making a point but they are doing it at the expense of their membership being sent packing, chunks of their members being contracted out, and all of them taking 13-16% hits to their pay check.

          Keep encouraging them to make a point and stand strong but remember the hundreds and hundreds of there members that come July 1 will be without jobs.  But hey, at least they have those green shirts and some stickers from their rallies and other nonsense. 

          MEF=Missing Employees Forever

        • Absolutely NONE of those layoffs were the fault of MEF. MEF gave up their raise year before last and took a “TRUE 0” to SAVE it’s member’s jobs. Two years before that, they gave up ANOTHER raise. You don’t know what you are talking about. The layoffs happen no matter what. They fought to keep the janitor’s positions and they were contracted out anyway. The City is going to do what they want to do, no matter what.

          Now, here is an acronym for you…SBPMF. Figure it out.

        • So what’s the diff between, say, 1) MEF meekly going along with Chucko and his goons and 2) trying to legally bargain and having a contract imposed on them by a non-bargaining, law-skirting Chucko? Both have the same results: the same number of laid off workers, the same pay and benefit cuts, and the same annual GF deficits, until the local real estate market turns. The only difference might be the warm feeling that the intellectually challenged might achieve if Chucko’s power grab is successful.

  8. Even our garbage expenses are out of line. I got my bill today for $165 dollars for 2 months. I could have the exact same bin and service in Spokane for $74 for two months! Why does it cost so much? The Spokane guys have to drive thru deep snow for part of the year. Not pleasant. How can they do it so much cheaper???

    • Why does it cost so much? Because the garbage man makes about $85k a year for driving the truck and letting the arms pick up the cans.

    • The monthly rate for a single family residence is $27.50 for a 32 gallon garbage container and any size recycling container you want and yard trimming collection.  So the bimonthly bill would be $55.  If you are paying $165 you must have the 96 gallon garbage cart.  All you have to do to save is switch to the smaller garbage container (32 gallon is still pretty large) and recycle! 

      Also, all trash services in San Jose are contracted out.

  9. Mayor Reed and Council rightfully are concerned that pension costs could be a reason for banckruptcy but, pension costs are not the cause of banckruptcy.

    The cause for the fiscal fiasco (and foreseeable banckruptcy) at city hall is; administrative,financial and (probable) congenital incompetence. The Counicl knows of their unfunded liabilities and continued to “give-away taxpayer” moinies to Citizen Based Organizations, pet projects and to other special interest boondoggles for decades. Mayor Reed is on his thirteenth (13th) year.

    For example, on Tuesday’s, June 21st City Council Agenda, Item [4.4 (a)(b)] will see the “banckrupted” city council give away $1,485,000 (it does not have) to fund the Mexican Heritage Plaza’s Art and Cultural School over the next three (3) years. This money comes right out of the General Fund. A third party, special interest group is slated to run this show.

    So, beware of “Reed speak”. It is speech from at least a bifurcated tongue drawing attention away from his particiaption of not funding liabilities and or not crying the blues of the impending financial dangers for not funding them all these thirteen plus years; while, giving away the show to others now deemed unimportant, irrelevant or dead.

    David S. Wall

    • I agree David.  Reed talks in circles until it becomes futile for you to argue the real truth with that idiot.  I have seen you try to get your point across, just as I have.  By the way David your 2 mins are up! 

      Old Frank

  10. Anyone see the Murky News this morning?  Looks like REED is starting to look like “Jim Jones” from the Jonestown Massacre…  I’m waiting to see if Reed starts handing out cyanide laced grape kool-aid at the Council Meetings? 

    It appears that Reed will never have any support from his “go to” Police and Fire Unions, he won’t have them in the future for endorsements as he has now made his stance clear of what he thinks his City staff is worth. 

    Good job Jim… uh hum I mean Chuck. 

    Time for a “RECALL” of this fool!

    Old Frank – Happy Fathers Day GUYS!

  11. David S Wall said

    “give-away taxpayer” monies to Citizen Based Organizations, pet projects and to other special interest boondoggles for decades.”

    “on Tuesday’s, June 21st City Council Agenda, Item [4.4 (a)(b)] will see the “bankrupted” city council give away $1,485,000 (it does not have) to fund the Mexican Heritage Plaza’s Art and Cultural School over the next three (3) years. This money comes right out of the General Fund.

    David – you missed 2 other $1.7 and $ 1 million dollar tax money giveaways

    RDA Agenda Item 7.1 Amendment of the Amended and Restated Agreement regarding Agency Loan Assistance to Zanotto’s

    ” to forgive the outstanding principal balance and all accrued interest in consideration of a covenant to open and operate a delicatessen in Downtown San Jose for not less than 3 years.”  ” In 1997, the Agency provided financial assistance to Zanotto’s Market (Site map attached) in the form of a loan to open a 22,000-square foot grocery store in the downtown. When the store closed on August 1, 2003, the principal balance of the loan was approximately $1.7 million. “

    ” Under this modification, the loan
    balance was forgiven at a rate of 117 per year or $277,253.45 (principal + interest)
    as long as the store remained open for business.
    The Internal Revenue Service requires that the anlount of the loan forgiveness by
    the Agency be reported annually as unearned income. The $277,253.45 in
    unearned income under the 2004 Assi-en lnent and Modification Aereeinent created
    an additional tax liability for Zanotto’s. On May 23,2006, the ~ & n Bcoa~rd
    approved the First Amendment to the Loan Assignment and Modification
    Agreement with Zanotto’s Downtown Market. The loan was modified to address
    the unintended tax consequences of the 2004 Loan Assignment and Modification
    Agreement.
    The key terms of the 2006 Zanotto’s Loan Agreement included:
    2006 principal amount of the Note: $1,664,090.36
    Term of the Promissory Note: 13 years
    Interest: 4% per annurn.
    No payment on the Note is required unless Zanotto’s Downtown Market
    closes its business or is in default under the loan prior to the end of the 13-
    year term or August 3 I, 201 7.
    For each year Zanotto’s Downtown Market is open for business the loan
    principal and any corresponding interest shall be forgiven under the
    following schedule:
    Years 1-3 $237,727
    Years 4- 13 $100,000 “

    Agenda Item 4.3 4.3 Purchase and Sale Agreement for City Owned Property Located at 150 Terraine Street.

    $521,800, or $40 per square foot.

    http://www.sanjoseca.gov/clerk/Agenda/20110621/20110621a.pdf

    City paid about $40 sq ft for property about 1991-2 ( Check City Clerk – Council Minutes ) and is now selling property at 1991-2’s price ($521,000 / 13,045 sq ft =  $40 sq ft ) WHILE city is buying less valuable property for Baseball Stadium at $80 sq ft    

    Fair Market price for central downtown high value property is $1,500,000 or $115 sq ft

    Sale is $1 million dollars under market price giving away tax money that shoold go to General Fund

    Total of known political tax giveaways for Tuesday Council meeting = $4.1 MILLION when is laying off police officers, more staff, again cutting services and again raising city fees

    Dishonest, Wrong and Disgusting Council Behavior

  12. ” Barley stanley – 44,000 Signatures and the recall is on the ballot too!”

    Recall been mentioned several times, yet no one’s started collecting signatures. 0ne would think city employees, their family’s, neighbors,  friends and voters sick and tired of our present city government will sign and collect signatures.
    Perhaps this time City unions and associations can get on the right side of a recall election.

  13. No work group or employee that provides real services or support services has been given a fair shake. The problem with negotiations is there have been no negotiations by the city with any work group.  The three supposed groups that have contracts are small labor groups that were feared into contracts by a vindictive mayor, council and management team.  There’s been no bottom to the take aways.  They have taken 15% but report 10% and now want steal from the pension.  The mayor and council believe with current public support they can endlessly take from employees and if resisted they can contract subpar services for profit to a private company if they can fabricate a first year savings.  This mayor and council have no idea of the intricacies of its infrastructure or its services and the real detriment they are causing to San Jose.  Just look at the murder rate, the graffiti, the roads and then look at the latest agenda and all the imbedded waste, contracts and job creations for council level aids.  They have the tax payers fooled, the pension fund gained over $100 million in profit after all paid obligations and leaves an ending balance in the billions.  They receive billions in revenue and have attempted to claim a fiscal crisis while the Mercury is reporting record profits for valley hi-tech companies.  Even the media has been fooled and contradicts this imaginary fiscal/pension crisis.  There’s room to negotiate in good faith, with reasonable cut backs but that’s not the goal of the Mayor, take it to the voters and stick to the workers and hope a stadium comes out the other side.  Give the people breads and circuses and they can be fooled every time.

  14. OK lets get cheer leaders at our failing airport, lay off 100 officers in just the first phase, buy land for a ball park that MLB will never approve and voters will not pass.

    Reject union proposals for retirement bene’s in the future so they can get it on the ballot in March and then layoff more employees.

    I wish you all the best.

  15. Oh, forgot, same the Graffiti program that consists of 3 officers, maybe we can reallocate the same number to solve our growing homicide rate, Welcome to Oakland.

    Lets see tags on a wall or a growing murder rate/ make this a civilian position and stop wasting officers

  16. Funny, but illegal shenanigans just don’t fly.

    “San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed’s proposal to declare a fiscal state of emergency and seek a ballot measure to trim employee pensions raises “serious” legal concerns, the office of California Attorney General Kamala Harris says.”

    Reed has WAY overstepped the law. Rather than working toward a legal solution, he wants martial law. Unfortunately for him, there is a balance of powers in this country…. legislative, executive, and judicial. He and his partners have made the laws, and now they have to live by them.

    Murky news has some of the story. Research elsewhere for the accurate story.

    • Chuck Reed must be a fan of reading history.  There are numerous examples through out history, including a certain conflict started in 1941, where despots have engaged in illegal and immoral behavior convinced that they had a mandate from the masses.  Many of these leaders started out by choosing a target to direct public anger and frustration at.  Continual reinforcement was used to remind the masses that all of their ills were to blame on the identified target.  In time, the public spent very little energy focusing on the performance of the leader and only concentrated on the target. 

      Eventually the outcry was sufficient that the leader was able to take action against the target.  These actions usually started within legal parameters. However, the leader, usually with the collusion of the media, continued to bombard the masses with repeated propaganda against the target fueling the anger and hatred.  The leader kept his finger on the pulse of the public and when he felt that they were sufficiently whipped into a frenzy, the leader began using methods that would normally be considered reprehensible.  The tolerance of the citizens, based upon the fabricated hatred of the target, resulted in their condoning of actions they would normally protest.

      The leader was emboldened with each action taken that was supported by the misguided masses.  Eventually, the battle was over, the smoke cleared, and only then did the populace realize how they had been duped into giving their leader absolute power.  Only after the fact did the masses discover that they had abandoned their moral compass, tipped the balance of power too far towards one side, and damaged people and institutions nearly beyond repair. Only in hindsight did the public find out that the targets of their anger, while not perfect, no group is, are really not the prime culprits.  Only after the dictator has fallen do people realize how gullible they were and that they are the ones who will pay the heaviest price.

      Sound familiar?

    • Last night, I tried to leave a comment when the story came out. Every single time I would leave the comment, it would get deleted, yet all of the comments that posted on the mayor’s side were allowed to stay. All I did was quote the mayor’s response: “They don’t know what we’re doing.” and made a comment that EVERYBODY knew what he was doing, that is why he is getting letters from the mayors telling him not to do it and attorneys telling him not to do it…and when I would posts, they would get deleted. What’s up with that?

      If he wants to file bankruptcy, then do it. I’m tired of the threats. He goes from one threat to the other. How does he expect to attract any kind of large business. No business is going to want to come here when they hear a City talking about declaring fiscal emergency or bankruptcy. Would you? He is going to fool around and get our bond rating lowered and a host of other bad things by making these kinds of statements. How stupid is that? I just say do it, up Chuck. I’m tired of your threats. Besides, I would love for the books to be opened and examined. I also would love for you to have to sell off land. Knock yourself out.

  17. Got the ” story ” wrong”  the city’s Deputy City Manager after 12 year in San Jose will be returning to Oakland as City Administrator  

    Mercury as usual got the story ” wrong”

    San Jose’s Deputy City Manager after 12 year in San Jose will be returning to Oakland as City Administrator  

    Expect her on the short list to replace City Manager Figone

    Will we see her go from Oakland, San Jose, Oakland, then back to San Jose as City Manager? 

    Maybe that’s the PLAN

    Watch Oakland to see if San Jose’s many former millionaire city managers, deputies, assistants, department directors etc double dip and get Oakland million dollar city consulting contracts because they know their former subordinate who owe them

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