The city council January 27 approved two-year extensions to the contracts for rank and file members of the Escondido Police Department and Fire Department.
The memoranda of understanding (MOU) between the city and its emergency services workers raised both salaries to the median range in the county.
City Manager Jeff Epp told The Times-Advocate: “Well, first, the great relationship we have with our Police and Fire Associations is very rewarding and shows how much we value public safety in our community. The men and women of these departments are very committed to this community and providing us with the best possible service. I’m very happy we could come up with a “win-win” agreement for the next two years. This will give us stability and a good base from which to solve our ongoing financial challenges.”
The vote to approve the agreements was 5-0 with almost no discussion.
Holding the line was necessary considering forecasts of an $8 million deficit the city must deal with in its 2021-2022 FY budget.
According to the staff report, the cost to the general fund for the fiscal year for the police from the extended agreement is $1,738,530. “It is anticipated that use of the CalPERS Section 115 Trust will be a major factor, along with other decisions regarding the General Fund, in covering the costs of this contract,” wrote the staff.
On January 24, 2018, the City Council voted to adopt the MOU between the Association and the City of Escondido, for a three-year term that expired on December 31, 2020.
In December the council provided negotiating authority to Epp in closed session after which city staff and association reps met to reach terms of an agreement.
The two-year labor agreement will cover terms and conditions of employment and meet important objectives for each of the parties.
The agreement provides a 4% raise to paramedics, firefighter/paramedics, fire engineers and fire captains. In January 2022, the second year of the contract, the same employees will be eligible for a raise of up to 2.5% depending on the county’s median salary.
Police officers and sergeants will receive raises of 5%, followed by another raise of up to 3%, also depending on the County’s median.
The city will tap its reserve fund that it previously created for salaries and benefits. Epp warned that the city