Sheriff’s Association sends contract to county

Officials expected to discuss conditions Tuesday at supes meeting
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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County officials are expected to review over the weekend a contract submitted by the Placer Deputy Sheriff’s Association Friday. The submission comes a few days before supervisors are scheduled to review an imposed contract the county is proposing as a temporary end to negotiations with the association. Association representatives would not comment on the details of the contract because they want to follow the ground rules of negotiations, according to Laurie Bettencourt, association secretary. Bettencourt said over the course of negotiations, which have been ongoing since the association’s contract with the county expired in December 2006, members have offered several “cost-saving” packages to the county. Those packages have ranged in savings from $750,000 to $1 million, Bettencourt said. Earlier this week, Placer CEO Tom Miller said the county is presenting a “last, best and final offer” to the association and the board of supervisors. If supervisors approve the offer, Miller estimates it would save the county about $800,000. The imposed contract would be in place for a year and negotiations between the county and association would also continue. The contract the county might impose requires association members to pay more of their medical and retirement plans and reduces their wellness incentive. Bettencourt said members have offered various combinations of offers that would reduce benefits to members including suspending different holidays, pay more of their employee benefits and reduce their wellness incentive. “They’ve all been rejected,” Bettencourt said. Andrew Scott, association vice president, said deputies are not asking for pay increases. He reiterated that deputies are trying to finalize with the county what kind of concessions they will make. “Each one of (the offers) has had concessions,” Scott said. “We won’t get as much in our take home pay.” Placer Sheriff’s will receive a mandatory raise this year as they did last year as part of voter-approved Measure F. The raise is based on an average of the base pay for sheriff’s departments in El Dorado, Sacramento and Nevada counties. Bettencourt said the deputies’ base pay is also something that is mandated and cannot be changed by law. Last year, deputies received raises ranging up to 6.33 percent, according to a Measure F salary survey for Placer County. Scott said association members are concerned about where the money saved from reducing their benefits will go. He said members want the money to stay in the county’s public safety budget so as not to impact services provided to residents. “Most deputies are willing to make sacrifices if it promotes public safety,” Scott said. Scott said that the county’s negotiator told association members that the money from the sheriff’s association would go into the county’s reserve fund. Earlier this week, Miller said that was not true. He said the final decision, however, of where the money would be spent in the county is up to the supervisors. Miller said the county is trying to decide how it will handle a $25 million deficit next year. Bettencourt added that many members understand the current economic situation and many have families that have already been impacted by cuts. For example, Bettencourt said multiple deputies have spouses who work for state or county governments and are already feeling the impacts of furloughs and other pay cuts. “Our members are cognizant of the current economic conditions of the state and also the anticipated drop in public-safety sales tax revenue due to the county,” Bettencourt said in an e-mail to the Journal. “They are also sympathetic of the contributions that the other employees of the county have made toward cost savings.” The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at ---------- Placer County Sheriff’s deputies receive an annual salary increase after voters approved Measure F in 1977. The pay raise is based on an annual salary survey of the minimum and maximum pay for sheriff’s employees in El Dorado, Sacramento and Nevada counties. A Placer Sheriff’s law enforcement salary is typically lower than that of employees at El Dorado and Sacramento counties and higher than those who work for Nevada County. Placer County officials average those totals and base the pay raise percentage on that average. The following information is from the county’s January 2009 Measure F salary survey. The Deputy Sheriff’s Association represents about 230 employees including sergeants, deputies, District Attorney investigators and welfare fraud investigators. Sergeant Placer Co. 2008 min. to max. salary: $60,420 to $73,536 per year Average 2009 salary for El Dorado, Sacramento and Nevada counties: $64,236 to $78,168 per year Percent increase at top step: 6.3 Deputy Sheriff II Placer Co. 2008 min. to max. salary: $50,808 to $61,848 per year Average 2009 salary for El Dorado, Sacramento and Nevada counties: $54,024 to $65,748 per year Percent increase at top step: 6.31 Deputy Sheriff I Placer Co. 2008 min. to max. salary: $46,188 to $48,516 per year Average 2009 salary for El Dorado, Sacramento and Nevada counties: $49,116 to $51,588 per year Percent increase at top step: 6.33 District Attorney and Welfare Fraud Investigators Placer Co. 2008 min. to max. salary: $63,444 to $77,220 per year *Salary is set through the sheriff’s association collective bargaining process Percent increase at top step: 6.29 ----------