Modesto council OKs more furloughs

SETTING IT SRAIGHT - The Modesto Police Management Association is taking 47 hours of furlough time, plus other concessions, that will save the city $241,000. The Modesto Police Officers Association is not taking furloughs. Incorrect information appeared in this story below.

Modesto police clerks, community service officers and other nonsworn employees have joined the list of city workers who will take furloughs this budget year.

The City Council approved an agreement with the 77-member Modesto Police Non-Sworn Association that calls for employees to take 96 hours of unpaid time off. The vote was 6-0. Councilman Will O'Bryant did not attend the meeting.

The council approved the agreement without comment. No members of the public spoke on the issue.

Nonsworn personnel are the department's support staff. They include records clerks, evidence technicians and crime analysts. Many interact with the public. Community service officers, for example, take crime reports and coordinate programs such as Neighborhood Watch.

The furlough time amounts to 12 workdays, or a 4.6 percent pay cut, for most employees. Employees will have four hours of furlough time deducted from each paycheck until June. Employees will accrue the hours, then take them as they would vacation time. Furlough requests will be scheduled in advance. The department will deny furlough requests that force it to drop below minimum staffing, said community service officer Art Miller, president of the Modesto Police Non-Sworn Association.

The nonsworn employees' furloughs and other concessions will save the city $188,747 during this budget year, which started July 1. Of that, about $185,640 represents savings from the city's general fund, which faced a $4.8 million shortfall.

The nonsworn employees union is the last of the city's bargaining units to accept a furlough package, said Mark Gregersen, interim director of human resources.

The city's other unions, except the Modesto Police Management Association, also agreed to take 96 hours in furloughs, said Gregersen.

The police management group agreed to 24 furlough hours for sergeants and lieutenants, plus other concessions that saved the city $241,327.

The Modesto Police Officers Association, which represents rank-and-file officers, accepted a furlough plan but wouldn't agree to defer raises. The city laid off eight of its employees. Those officers recently were rehired after the city won a federal grant.

Bee staff writer Leslie Albrecht can be reached at or 578-2378.

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