Vallejo public safety willing to help budget

May 12, 2008 7:11:48 PM PDT
Less than a week after the Vallejo City Council voted to declare bankruptcy, there's a new proposal on the table Monday night. It comes from public safety officials who believe what they're offering will keep the city solvent.

The latest proposal from public safety officials may prevent Vallejo from going under. According to city officials, the salaries and benefits of police officers and fire fighters make up nearly 75 percent of the city's general fund. A budget with a $16 million deficit.

The city council unanimously voted last week to file for bankruptcy, hoping a judge will allow them to renegotiate those contracts.

On Monday the employees' unions proposed what they call a viable alternative.

"Prior to them taking that vote we had used our numbers and made a proposal that kept them solvent," said Mat Mustard, from the Vallejo Police Officers Association.

They are offering $10.6 million in wage concessions. Police and fire would agree to a 6.5 percent salary cut until March of next year, give up a current 1.7 percent raise and 11 percent in scheduled raises. Other city employees would chip in a 3 percent salary cut but get comp time in exchange. The public safety officers would also give up 10 percent in scheduled increases over the next two years.

City Councilwoman Joanne Shivley is skeptical.

"Would that change your mind about the vote you took?" asks ABC7's Carolyn Tyler.

"Absolutely not. We need a long term solution and there is more that needs to be cut than simply salaries. There are benefits that are overly generous," said Councilwoman Shivley.

The owner of Leonidis, a store in downtown Vallejo, supports the council's bankruptcy decision and believes businesses in will be able to weather the crisis.

"I tell anybody who want to open a business here that it will take time, time to come up again," says Carlos Ulloa, a Vallejo business owner.

The city plans to file bankruptcy papers in court sometime this week, so this police and firefighters proposal is really a last minute move.

The council will review it in closed door session on Tuesday.


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