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.