State

Police union offers a deal

The Modesto police sergeants and lieutenants union Thursday approved furloughs and other concessions intended to save at least two jobs.

The next move is set for Tuesday night, when the City Council is scheduled to vote on the agreement.

The proposed deal between the Modesto Police Management Association and the city would save $241,327 in the current budget year by:

Requiring sergeants and lieutenants to take 24 hours of furlough time

Eliminating the city's contribution for deferred compensation for one year

Freezing normal step increases for salaries

Forbidding union members from cashing out any unused management leave

Striking the city's contribution for uniform allowances

Dropping Modesto's contribution to the officers' term life insurance for one year

"It's a good deal," said Lt. Chris Fuzie, the MPMA's president. "The sergeants and lieutenants are the day-to-day leaders of the department. We're the ones who have to make sure the work gets done even as things keep getting worse and worse financially."

Modesto has asked its unions for similar wage concessions to help close a $4.8 million deficit for the budget year that started July 1. Three bargaining groups accepted the proposals.

The Modesto Police Officers Association rejected the city's pitch, and the city laid off eight of its 202 members last week.

Two lower-ranking officers would have lost their jobs and three MPMA members would have been demoted if the MPMA had turned down the agreement.

The major sticking point for the MPOA was its request for a no-layoff guarantee.

Its leadership also held that the city had refused to consider some of its suggestions, such as reducing uniform allowances and spending on physicals.

Mayor Jim Ridenour said the city was able to be more flexible with the police management contract because it's a smaller union. The MPMA has 41 members.

"They came to us with a plan, and they worked real hard on it," Ridenour said. "I have to give them credit. I thought we weren't going to get anything."

Bee staff writer Adam Ashton can be reached at aashton@modbee.com or 578-2366.

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