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Councilmember strong-armed by police PAC

The Claremont City Council will discuss the police impasse in open session next week for the first time since negotiations began. The city proposes the council adopt a resolution that will have police paying 6 percent of their Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) contribution within the first year. This PERS amount will replace the previously proposed 3 percent. The 1.5 percent Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) will still be a part of the contract. As a resolution adopted by the city council draws nearer, emotions are being stirred on both sides of the line.

Police have filed an Unfair Business Practice charge against the city. Councilmember Corey Calaycay received a letter on Thursday from the Committee of Police & Fire Associations Inspiring Responsible Elections (COPFIRE) stating “under your watch, the number of sworn police officers working the streets of Claremont has been cut by 15 percent.”

“Traffic Enforcement has been cut, the School Resource position has been reduced, the Investigations Division has been reduced to a point where there is no more active gang, graffiti or narcotics enforcement. All this while taking limited taxpayer resources for the city to purchase unnecessary real estate and increase staffing and compensation for executives at city hall,” the letter continues.

COPFIRE sent the letter in response to recent issues that “have been brought to light” during recent negotiations, claims Dieter Dammeier, Claremont Police Officers Association counsel, also stating that no other Claremont Councilmember is being reviewed by COPFIRE at this time.

“Claremont is prioritizing money away from public safety and Mr. Calaycay was the spearhead for that,” Mr. Dammeier said. “Every function of that police department right now is a barebones skeleton. They [police officers] are being worked to death overtime-wise because staff has been reduced. The city is just not prioritizing the police department.”

Mr. Calaycay provided a copy of the letter, but declined to verbally comment on the matter before Tuesday night’s meeting. He stated in writing:

“I have forwarded correspondence from a political action committee claiming to represent fire and police officers associations throughout San Gabriel Valley and the Inland Empire that was delivered to my official City of Claremont e-mail and postal addresses, which makes the correspondence a matter of public record. Therefore, I believe that the public has a right to be aware of this letter.”