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City settlement with police union ends 6-month impasse

The Claremont City Council has given final approval for a contract with the Claremont Police Officers Association (CPOA) good through 2014.

With a 3-2 vote the council approved the memorandum of understanding with the police union ending nearly 6 months at an impasse.

“Negotiations are what they are and in my opinion this has certainly been successful,” said Councilmember Joe Lyons. “I want to thank the negotiators on both sides...for coming to an equitable, fair and impartial decision.”

With its approval, the city council has now agreed upon contracts with 5 of 6 employee groups. Negotiations continue with the Claremont Police Management Association.

The 2 opposing votes came from Mayor Pro Tem Opanyi Nasiali and Councilmember Corey Calaycay, who also voted no on the 4 previously approved contracts with other employee groups. Mr. Nasiali and Mr. Calaycay believed all groups should be paying their full pension share immediately instead of the contract’s tax-deferred basis. Every group will pay their full pension by the end of the contract.

Through the new agreement with the CPOA, which expires in June 2014, the city will save an estimated $311,562, according to Personnel Manager Shawna Urban. This excludes the estimated $7,000 legal fees used for the latest Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) hearing, part of a lawsuit filed by the CPOA after reaching an impasse late last year.

In return, the police union members will get a total 5 percent Cost of Living Adjustment increase. Forty members will also be given an annual uniform allowance of $400. Cost to the city over the life of the 3-year contract is approximately $435,352.

“The joint, good faith meet-and-confer efforts have been successful in reaching an agreement that meets the best interest of both parties,” Ms. Urban said.

With the joint agreement, the CPOA will also drop both of its outstanding lawsuits against the city of Claremont. Members say they are thankful an agreement has been reached, and look forward to a continued focus on public safety and giving back through community events like their annual Tip-A-Cop fundraiser.

“We are ready to move forward and get back on track with working with the city and the council,” said CPOA Vice President Detective Robert Ewing, “We are glad to put all this behind us.”

Read Saturday’s COURIER for more on Tuesday’s Claremont City Council meeting.

—Beth Hartnett

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