Council Considers Plan to Keep Retirement-Ready Cops on Staff

After another small academy class, the City Council has proposed a staffing retention plan to prevent more officers from leaving a critically understaffed police force.

Under the “patrol staffing retention plan,” retirement-eligible officers can put their pension in a trust fund to work a few more years without paying into the retirement system. When the finally retire, they can claim their pension in full.

“Over the next several weeks, dozens of retirement-eligible officers will be making decisions about whether to retire in 2015,” reads the memo signed by Mayor Chuck Reed and council members Johnny Khamis and Sam Liccardo. “As those retirement decisions loom for more than 55 officers in their, early fifties, we need to timely communicate to this experienced, talented group that we intend to encourage them to continue serving on our force.”

Typically, San Jose Police Department officers reaching 25 years of service retire within a couple years of eligibility. But with the force down from 1,400-plus to 900 officers, the city can’t afford to lose anymore.

A paltry academy class of 29 cadets—half the size of what it's been historically—underscored the problem. Recent academies have about half of the cadets leave for other cities upon graduating.

If approved by the council Tuesday, the city will hold off on implementing the part of Measure B pension reforms that require employees to put an additional 4 percent contribution toward their retirement or take a 4 percent pay cut. It would also allow officers with more than 25 years of experience to stay in a paid position on the force, in the rank of officer or sergeant, while earning pension benefits in some form.

The police union, at odds with the city since voter-approved Measure B knocked down disability and pension benefits, criticized the plan.

“This is a smoke screen to take attention away from the Measure B problems, away from the police exodus problems,” Police Officers Association President Jim Unland told NBC Bay Area. “And it’s really a disingenuous effort at this point.”

More from the San Jose City Council agenda for Sept. 16, 2014:

  • The city upgraded its reverse 9-1-1 system, which alerts daycares and primary schools of imminent danger via text or phone call. AlertSCC is a free service provided through the county.
  • Federal rules require that 10 percent of businesses working with the airport must be owned by someone who’s socio-economically disadvantaged to level the playing field—that includes minorities or people with a net worth of less than $1.32 million.
  • Three family members of a man gunned down by police will get $900,000 from the city to settle a wrongful death lawsuit. Cops burst into Valente Galindo’s apartment in 2011 after chasing a suspect, who tossed his gun into Galindo’s bedroom. An officer told him not to touch the gun, but said he picked it up anyway. His family disagrees with that account—they say he never touched the weapon.
  • Customer calls could be quicker, more efficient if the city modernized its phone system, according to a new audit. Apparently, no one was even monitoring wait times, which averaged about eight minutes in recent months.
  • Some $420,000 was allocated for the San Jose Downtown Association to promote downtown events and businesses. The bulk of it, $320,000 came from the parking fund, and the rest from the general fund to improvements to the downtown ice rink. The proposal comes with one-year options to continue the contract for $320,000 through 2019.
  • About $12 million in federal housing grants helped the city house 211 chronically homeless people, provide case management to 2,000 homeless youth and battered spouses, offer literacy training for 1,782 students, offer hot meals and rides to 786 seniors, build 669 low-income apartments, fix up 411 low-income homes and help another 1,598 come up to code.

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 the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

38 Comments

  1. How does Council have the authority to “hold off” on implementing parts of the Measure B that were upheld by the court? The pay cuts are now mandatory Charter provisions. How does Council not enforce the Charter? And isn’t the proposal to place retirement funds into a “trust fund” and allow retirement eligible police officers to continue to work without making pension contributions an “enhancement” of retirement benefits that under Measure B must be approved by a vote of the people? These proposals are a glaring admission that Measure B is completely unworkable and a failed effort at “reform”. When will the voters wake up and realize that they have been had by these politicians? It’s time to completely scrap Measure B and bring a solution that City management and City employees both endorse.

  2. What a joke this Mayor and Council have become. The only problem is that No one is laughing. It is the residents that are suffering from the results of a decimated Police/Fire Depts. It was Chuckles , Liccardo , Khamis , Constant, Hererra , Oliverio , who were absolutely against this practice , and now it is their solution?? Truely Pathetic . Worst Mayor and Council ever

  3. They have made a mess and they don’t know how to clean it up. They just don’t get it. They never did. The officers DO NOT WANT TO WORK FOR THIS ADMINISTRATION. If liccardo becomes mayor they will lose even more. The best this city can hope for to stop the bleeding is for this administration to be gone. When we get someone in there who knows how to treat the employees; who knows how to negotiate fairly; and who can be trusted, then the bleeding will stop. It will NEVER stop until reed and liccardo are gone. Other than police, look how many of the top management (Directors and Assistant Directors) and other experienced staff who have left. They are losing so much experience. It’s a real mess. reed and liccardo, please just leave and let the city start healing. That would be the honorable thing to do, if you care anything about this city.

  4. Jenn W;

    You reported, “Some $420,000 from the general fund was allocated for the San José Downtown Association to promote downtown events and businesses.”

    The aforementioned figure did not include the four (4) years of additional “options”
    @ $320,000 per year referenced in the link to the document you provided.

    The actual “haul” the San José Downtown Association will receive, at the more than generous hands of a spendthrift Council, is a whopping $1.7 Million from the General Fund over the next five (5) years.

    “Fiscal reforms” and a commitment for “Public Safety” as pontificated by Mayor Reed and a Councilmember / Mayoral hopeful, requires additional clarification as to the definition of the aforementioned terms and intent as one considers these; “generous to the point of gifting public monies” in the form of budgetary allocation(s) to our good friends at the San José Downtown Association.

    David S. Wall

    .

  5. > •Federal rules require that 10 percent of businesses working with the airport must be owned by someone who’s socio-economically disadvantaged to level the playing field—that includes … people with a net worth of less than $1.32 million.

    Wow!

    Talk about naked class warfare.

    Is this in the Constitution some where?

  6. > •Federal rules require that 10 percent of businesses working with the airport must be owned by someone who’s socio-economically disadvantaged to level the playing field—that includes … people with a net worth of less than $1.32 million.

    Wow! Talk about naked class warfare!

    Is this in the Constitution somewhere?

  7. Why would a officer with 25 years even consider this offer. If the officer simply stayed on without retiring it would increase his retirement benefit for each year he stays and receive his full retirement benefit when he reaches 30 years of service. Additionally this scheme (and yes it is a scheme) creates a whole host of other problems for the officer such as what happens if he should become injured and disabled after he accepts this scheme. If killed in the line of duty what happens to spousal/family benefits because of this convoluted scheme and the list go’s on. Officers retiring at 25 years of service are leaving because the City San Jose simply do not care about their employees and it is not worth it for them to work for this employer anymore than they need to.

  8. San Jose could return the equivalent of 27 FTEs see http://www3.sanjoseca.gov/clerk/CommitteeAgenda/PSFSS/20111117/PS20111117_d5.pdf by having the Sheriff’s Dept handle SJC safety. The current contract looses money and fails to account for all costs. The Sheriff’s Dept. originally underbid SJPD, then SJPD lowered its bid in desperation. It’s all in the public record.

    About $1.2M (more than cost of 5 officers) could be recovered in SJPD’s budget by having school districts handle crossing guards like other cities do.

    We could easily fund the $40M cost of adding the 200 more SJPD officers Liccardo pledged (but has failed to accomplish) by having the County handle EMS. Legally, it’s a county responsibility. SJ residents are paying SCC taxes for it, but aren’t getting county EMS services. Offloading should also improve SJFD’s declining response time too.

    SJ has highest paid full time municipal employees *after 10% cut* per CA Controller John Chang. Yet SJ’s cost of living is far from the state’s highest. Reinstate 10% cut for non-essential employees to make public safety wages competitive.

    • > SJ has highest paid full time municipal employees *after 10% cut* per CA Controller John Chang. Yet SJ’s cost of living is far from the state’s highest. Reinstate 10% cut for non-essential employees to make public safety wages competitive.

      Interesting.

      My suspicion is that public safety wages are already competitive, it’s just that the police union is waging “holy war” (and probably intimidating potential recruits for the police academy).

      • If by intimidating , you mean keeping them informed . then yes . the info is out there , see for yourself Neither SJPD or SJFD are competitive by any means . also keep in mind that you can deduct the 21% of their salaries that they pay into their own pensions. No one else in the state even comes close to paying that much. SJFD just lost 3 to Milpitas and that came with a $30,000 bump in pay and way better Benefits .

      • 450 officers have left over the past few years. Have you personally interviewed one of the officers on why they left, or on what are you basing your “suspicions”?

  9. Note to Chuck Reed: The decision to stay with the City or leave retired or for a other job with another city hingeso on one thing and one thing only: the outcome of the November mayoral election. If Cortese wins officers will continue to”hang around” with the hope that things get better. A Liccardo win will be the equivalent of a dam breaking as officers already know what is store.

    • agreed , It would mean at least 4 more years of sheer Hell for the residents of San Jose . Because the Mass exodus will not only continue but increase in numbers and speed . Crime will only continue to increase

    • Meyer, sadly I must agree with you should there be a Liccardo win. There simply will no longer be a reason for those few left to remain. A win for Liccardo would not be a win for San Jose.

  10. — “SJ has highest paid full time municipal employees *after 10% cut* per CA Controller John Chang.”

    HOW TO DUPE THE PUBLIC ABOUT EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION

    Let’s say a city has 5000 employees and its annual retirement contribution is 50 million dollars. When that contribution is added on to the $100,000 per year average employee salary it can be said that the average employee salary + retirement contribution costs the city $110,000. Then the economy tanks, 2000 employees (40%) are terminated and the remaining employees endure a 10% pay cut, making the average salary $90,000 plus + the city’s retirement contribution. However, due to the stock market collapse the city’s obligation to the retirement fund does not drop by 40% to 30 million dollars, it actually doubles to 100 million (to make up for the lost valuation).

    Now, if you use math as dishonestly as does the current administration, you’d tell everyone that the average employee salary ($90,000) + revised retirement contribution ($33,333) makes your employees the highest paid in the state, DESPITE THE TEN PERCENT REDUCTION IN THEIR PAYCHECKS.

    This is what Chuck Reed and Sam Liccardo call transparency. I call it lying, and the above scenario does not even factor in the huge increase in employee contribution to retirement/medical benefits, nor does it take into account that the city’s per employee retirement contribution rises with the departure of every employee driven away by the very real loss of wages (what this means is that the more the city’s labor force shrinks the more the city can claim it spends per employee).

    Our officers have fled, are fleeing, and will continue to do so because they’ve had their pockets picked, their honor insulted, and their safety seriously compromised. As for you idiots who continue to throw around misleading quotations, next time you need a cop I suggest you reach for a comforting statistic, because this city is running out of cops.

  11. > Can you please explain your comparison between 450 police officers leaving SJPD and Bell, Ca?

    No. I can’t explain it to you.

    It will just have to be one of those things that I know and you don’t.

    • Your bubble must have burst. You can’t even explain your comments??? That’s weird.

      • > You can’t even explain your comments??? That’s weird.

        You’ve probably never noticed it, but there are many things that people can’t explain to you.

        The problem with ignorance is, you don’t know you’re got it.

    • How many former SJPD officers have you spoken with to find out the reasons they left?

  12. Its amazing how people commenting on this board cannot realize that a large percentage of comments on this board are from either former or currently working Firefighters and Police Officers. The frustration with most of these prior public safety people, is that some of the dissenting commentary is thoroughly without knowledge or merit. It is difficult enough to explain what Finfan has eloquently written, to the uninformed. But it is utterly maddening when it has to be explained to the ignorant and downright hostile collection of kooks sometimes posting here. You are (the kooks) entitled to your opinion of course, but in the minds of those who actually KNOW the truth (because they live it) it does not help the cause of the current administration to retain Officers or Firefighters. They see what is written, and decide that they are not wanted, appreciated, or regarded. They are treated like second class citizens and welfare recipients.
    More power to those who wish to leave, and good luck to those who are forced to stay due to their personal circumstances. The most glaring commentary to date was the round table with 4 former police Chiefs. Not a single word in the SJI, or the Merc. If you wont listen to the people who have risen from probation to City police Chief….who will you listen to? Silver spoons Liccardo, Bartender Oliverio, Shark Lawyer Reed, Greedy Developer Khamis, Useless Nguyen and Disability Fraud Constant. Thanks, but I’ll take my chances with the over 200 collective years of Police Department knowledge over these “people” any day.

    • So true… so sad… we do our best to explain the situation from the trenches while the kooks who post and the kooks who claim to “investigate and report” fiddle as the City implodes….

      Can anyone of the know-it-all detractors dispute one single prediction any one of has made over the years since the “pension reform” measures were first debated? Can they dispute any of the facts regarding the “ongoing” budget savings that the politicians attribute to pension reform? – considering that the City Council AGAIN just agreed to ignore the voters mandate for pension reform vis-à-vis Measure B by deciding AGAIN to not increase employee contributions by 4% or reduce pay by 4%???

      The only savings the City has realized form Measure B is the money it has saved by having budgeted positions go unfilled… the only increase to those savings occurs when another City employee leaves for a job somewhere else.

    • > Its amazing how people commenting on this board cannot realize that a large percentage of comments on this board are from either former or currently working Firefighters and Police Officers.

      There’s not much mystery about what all the current and former Firefighters and Police Officers want.

      They want to be paid more money for less work and they want fatter benefits and retirement.

      Got it.

      What else should we talk about?

      • I previously asked you to answer who many of the 400 SJPD officers have you spoken with to find out the actual reasons they left, to back up your claim that the left because of the “holy war” the union is waging. Perhaps you can answer that now so we know if you are just spewing rhetoric or your “suspicion” was based on personal knowledge straight from the officers mouths. Also, how many officers do you know that “want to be paid more money for less work?” The officers I know took a 10% paycut and are working themselves to the bone during their shifts, and working long hours of mandatory overtime. Please tell us what actual knowledge you have to back up any of your accusations. It would be great if you could give a straight answer rather than attempting to be funny and not answering the question because you have no good answer.

        • > I previously asked you to answer who many of the 400 SJPD officers have you spoken with to find out the actual reasons they left, to back up your claim that the left because of the “holy war” the union is waging. Perhaps

          And what are we supposed to learn from the narratives of individual officers? Is it likely that their narratives might just be regurgitation of union talking points?

          Well, duh!

          If you want a meaty, substantive explanation of why people might think that police unions and other public sector unions are not good for democracy and not good for local self government, dig into this:

          http://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-trouble-with-public-sector-unions

          Please pay particular attention to the fact that the Holy Saint of progressive populism, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, thought public sector unions were a bad idea:

          ‘To the extent that people thought about it, most politicians, labor leaders, economists, and judges opposed collective bargaining in the public sector. Even President Franklin Roosevelt, a friend of private-sector unionism, drew a line when it came to government workers: “Meticulous attention,” the president insisted in 1937, “should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government….The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.” The reason? F.D.R. believed that “[a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable.” Roosevelt was hardly alone in holding these views, even among the champions of organized labor. Indeed, the first president of the AFL-CIO, George Meany, believed it was “impossible to bargain collectively with the government.”‘

          I’m with FDR on this one.

          • A long winded answer that you are uneducated as to the real reasons 400 officers have resigned from the SJPD. Fluffing your answer in quotes by President Roosevelt gives it no more credibility.

          • This was the perfect answer to your question, Observation. Not surprising thought that you dismiss it out of hand.
            The fact that public employee unionization has enabled the crippling increase in the size and cost of government is entirely relevant.
            That public employees find it useful to ignore this fact and to belittle those who point it out is understandable. Not honest. But useful.
            Somehow or another, despite the horrors of Measure B, we’re getting by just as we predicted.

          • Galt,
            The likes of you and bubble think SJ cops are lazy and overpaid. That is evident to glean from your prior posts. You are oblivious to the black and white facts of why 400 officers have left, another 200 will be leaving in the next 18 months, and the department is imploding. The staffing situation is so very desperate that Reed, Liccardo, and Khamass are trying to come up with a half-assed plan to have retired officers stay on and guess what, double dip. The same Reed who has gone across the United States on your dime decrying the likes of double dipping etc. You instead want to make this a wholesale attack on public unions so you get a chance to spew your hatred of all public, and probably private sector unions. Keep sticking your head and the sand hoping everything is going to be okay despite Measure B….ignorance is bliss.

          • It’s a really long winded non-answer… the police officers and fire fighters in San Jose, the topic we are discussing, are forbidden by law from striking. Is anyone here aware of officers from the SJPD or fire fighters from SJFD engaging in a labor strike?

            Back to the original question(s)… is anyone aware of police or fire fighters wanting “to be paid more money for less work and they want fatter benefits and retirement.” ?

            My understanding rooted in facts that can be drawn from the consistency of my own archived comments here and elsewhere indicate that the only thing I ever wanted was to be paid and benifitted exactly what the terms of past legally negotiated binding contracts have specified.

  13. Thank you for proving my point bubblehead. I couldnt possibly have baited you any better.

    • > I couldnt possibly have baited you any better.

      Bo:

      You’re a really easy grader.

      You probably give yourself an A-plus just for showing up.

      I detect that you may have been one of those children who were rewarded by the public schools with a star as a “learner” for guessing that 2+2 might be 5.

  14. Great visual Meyer, but it was more like a fishing trip…..to a stocked lake….with really dumb fish…..

    • I didn’t want to go here but….fish have some gray matter no matter how slight. They know when they are caught on a hook and fight to shake it… the puppet’s reaction is just a product of the master’s manipulation of the stings…

  15. “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.”

    Though the originator of this exasperatingly accurate quote will forever remain unknown, it is oftentimes quite simple to identify the emotional source of someone’s unreasonable position. Such is the case of those who see police officers only through a lens of personal greed and political extortion, as, it has been shown, do many participating on this site.

    I would predict with confidence that every one who has ever served at the helm of a police labor organization has suffered from the demands of greedy and unreasonable members, felt disgust over the claims of disability cheats, and experienced outrage to see his organization’s cooperative efforts portrayed as blackmail by opportunistic politicians. But what separates these police leaders from police critics is their access to the big picture: they can see beyond the greedy minority, the limping frauds, the political liars. They know of the dedication, talent, and courage of the VAST MAJORITY of their members; in short, they know more than WHAT THEY READ IN THE NEWSPAPERS.

    Every SJ officer who’s moved to another agency did so for personal reasons, but ninety to one-hundred percent of those personal reasons got its start in Chuck Reed. And every one of those officers, before leaving (“to serve his greed” — as so many have alleged), had to prove (with his credentials and service record) his value to his prospective employer. No agency is looking to hire duds; the fact of their hire is the fact of their worth and the fact of San Jose’s loss.

    For more than fifty years, despite never being top-paid, San Jose PD was the go-to department for ambitious and energetic California police officers looking for something better, giving the city getting the pick of the litter at a bargain price. SJPD is now the run-from department, and no amount of unreasonable conviction can change that truth.

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