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Chico ER coverage of City Council meeting

By JAKE HUTCHISON | | Chico Enterprise-Record September 23, 2022 at 4:15 a.m.

CHICO — Some Chico Police Department employees will be seeing raises in salary over the next three years after the City Council approved a resolution to its current Memorandum of Understanding. Negotiations were between the city and those who fall under the Chico Police Management Employees union. Each employee will gain a 5% pay raise each year for three years. With the new salaries in place, employees will pay an additional 6% toward benefit provisions. “This encompasses our police lieutenants and captains,” said Administrative Services Director Barbara Martin. “Tonight we are asking for the ratification of the MOU.” An estimated $112,000 is expected to go toward this resolution in the first year with a total cost of $438,000 paid over the course of the three-year contract. According to the report from the city, the resolution stemmed from a year of negotiations. The resolution became retroactively effective as of July 2022. As part of the negotiations, the union agreed to take on 6% of the payment into CalPERS, said City Manager Mark Sorensen. “The 6% is an additional 6% of their total PERSable wages,” Sorensen said. “So if their wage is $50,000, they will be paying $3,000 more each year of employment that would have been paid by the city previously.” During the meeting, Councilor Alex Brown noted that the 10% increase in the first two years applies to all employees under the union but that the last 5% increase pertains to those who receive post advance certifications. Brown asked how many employees fall under that criteria. Interim Police Chief Billy Aldridge said the number of employees with those certifications is eight, adding that there is a new employee joining the force who may or may not have them. If he doesn’t there will be seven. Mayor Andrew Coolidge asked if the employees in question were overpaid or if it was on par with other agencies throughout the state to which Martin said she didn’t have that data specifically, but she believed they were around the average. The resolution was approved 6-1 with Brown being the sole vote against. Training reimbursements The council unanimously approved a budget police amendment that could allow for some additional funds to go back to the Police Department rather than the general fund for the purpose of training. California’s Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission requires a certain amount of training and in return offers some reimbursements for the cost of training. Reimbursements go directly to Chico’s general fund account, however, this amendment will make an adjustment based on the amount of reimbursed funding. The city is expecting at least $20,000 in reimbursements this year, but Martin said it could go up to $30,000. If that happens, the additional $10,000 will go back into the Police Department’s funding. “Often these trainings are costing more and becoming more numerous over time,” Martin said. “With that, the city can receive higher than anticipated revenue from the state as payments for these trainings. In discussing this with Chief (Matt) Madden and City Manager (Mark) Sorensen, we believe that the most efficient way to manage these costs and the revenue associated with them should they occur is to give the city manager authority to approve budget modifications that increase this revenue and associated training budget equally by any amounts over what is currently budgeted.” The Chico City Council mostly meets at 6 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 421 Main St. Meetings are free and open to the public.

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