Turlock considers another labor deal that adds stress to beleaguered city budget

Turlock City Hall at 156 S. Broadway, Turlock, on Sept. 22, 2015.
Turlock City Hall at 156 S. Broadway, Turlock, on Sept. 22, 2015.

The Turlock City Council on Tuesday will consider approving a deal with its management employees that calls for them to receive a 4 percent raise and other benefits that will cost the city nearly $258,000 in its current budget year.

A city report states that more than $131,000 of the cost would come from general fund reserves. The general fund pays for public safety and other basics, and its reserves are under stress.

City officials have said Turlock is on pace to exhaust the fund’s reserves within three years, though officials are looking at how to reduce expenses and increase revenues.

The proposed agreement is with the Turlock Management Group, which includes about two dozen employees, including department directors and other managers. These employees took 9 percent pay cuts during the Great Recession and had the cuts restored from July 2014 though July 2017.

Administrative Services Director Kellie Jacobs-Hunter said the 4 percent would be the Turlock Management Group’s first pay increase in a number of years. The one-year agreement is retroactive to July 1.

It includes longevity pay of 1.5 percent for managers who have worked for Turlock for 10 consecutive years, an additional 1.5 percent for managers who reach 15 years of service, and a final 1.5 percent for those who reach 20 years. A manager can receive a total of 4.5 percent upon reaching his or her 20th year with Turlock.

Managers who are bilingual can receive 2.5 percent in additional pay. They could earn that for being bilingual in Spanish or Portuguese. Jacobs-Hunter said this incentive could apply to a handful of managers.

It’s not clear whether the agreement covers City Manager Bob Lawton, who started in July. Jacobs-Hunter said the practice has been that city managers receive increases only if approved by the council based on their employment contracts. Jacobs-Hunter planned to speak to interim City Attorney Jose Sanchez for a definitive answer.

The proposed deal comes after negotiations between the city and the management group. The City Council has approved several labor agreements last year and this year with other employee groups, including one this year with the Turlock Associated Police Officers that is expected to cost the general fund reserves $2.7 million over three years.

The council meets at 6 p.m. at City Hall in the Yosemite Room, 156 S. Broadway.