SJ City Council tentatively agrees to police pay raise

SAN JOSE, Calif.

Officers' taking a pay-cut was blamed as the main reason 69 members of the force resigned just this year.

The first indication a deal was in the works came when the Police Officers Association Board of Directors emerged from a meeting where they voted unanimously to recommend its members vote for the deal.

Mayor Chuck Reed and city council members were optimistic as they left a closed-door session where the details were discussed.

"I'm cautiously optimistic, but we'd like to give our police officers a raise, and that would be good news for them and good news for the city," said Reed.

The tentative agreement calls for officers to get a 4 percent raise now, a 3.33 percent raise in June of 2014 and another 3.33 percent raise in July of 2015. Officers would end up with a little more than a 10 percent raise by mid-2015.

"I think there's good reason for hope, but we've got to insure that everyone's on board and that requires a vote of the entire police union membership," said City Council Member Sam Liccardo.

Officers will start voting next Tuesday. If ratified, the city council will vote. The process will take about two weeks.

The police union president says this will bring police pay back to 2009 levels, but that is not likely to stop officers from transferring to higher paying jobs in other cities.

"July of 2015, our officers will be making what they made in 2009. And, they're seeing their peers go to other agencies making $1,500-$2,000 more a month, than what we're making now. But we've got to start somewhere and restoring the [10 percent] was always our position of what had to happen," said Jim Unland of the San Jose Police Officer's Association.

The police deal will pressure the city to restore similar 10 percent pay cuts to other employee groups who have been getting 2 percent raises.

"I know that I can't afford to give 10 percent all at once. It has to come over time. We want to give back 10 percent back to everybody. It's just a question of how long it takes and how much money we can afford to do," said Reed.

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