WALNUT CREEK -- A three-year contract agreement with the Police Management Association was approved by the City Council on Tuesday, with police gaining pay raises and a rollback of some pension and health care reforms enacted in 2010 during the recession.
The management association represents 17 police managers and includes captains, lieutenants and sergeants.
A 2010 agreement, which expired in September 2012, had frozen pay raises and required police to pay 10 percent of their health care premiums. In the new agreement, police health care contributions decrease to 9 percent.
Under the new agreement, police will get a 3 percent raise retroactive to Feb. 1. Another raise of 1.25 percent will come in October. In April 2014, the police managers are scheduled to receive another 1.25 percent raise, and then in October, they will get a 2.5 percent raise.
Some of the pension reform of 2010 has also been rolled back. Police covered under the new agreement will now pay 6 percent of their pension costs, a 1 percent decrease from last year. Police contributions to their pensions will increase to 9 percent in October 2014, however. The police will also get 10 more hours in annual holiday-in-lieu pay.
The new agreement -- ratified earlier by management group members -- also increases the age at which new hires can receive full retirement benefits. Police managers hired before Nov. 23, 2012, will remain under the old retirement plan.
Councilman Bob Simmons said the agreement helps the city achieve broad fiscal reforms.
"I've been on this council since the depths of the recession," said Simmons. "We wanted to achieve structural compensation reform and I think with all of the agreements that is exactly what we have done. At the end of this agreement, all the city employees are paying the full employee share of their pension."
The agreement passed on Tuesday on a vote of 4-1. The lone "no" vote came from Councilman Justin Wedel, who lamented that the city could not afford to roll back pension and health care reform changes for city employees. He said long term projections are still bleak for balancing the city's budget.
"We're not out of the woods yet," said Wedel. "There's been overwhelming expectations from the community that we roll back pensions costs, both long and short term."
The new agreement is estimated to raise costs for the city by $550,000 over the three-year term. Wedel said he wished this money had been spent on hiring more officers.
The city's rank-and-file officers reached an agreement with the city in August 2012.