Tuesday’s Antioch Council agenda: city employee contracts, eliminating citywide administration costs from Measure C funds, charter city, more

On the very full agenda for their meeting on Tuesday night, Jan. 10, the  Antioch City Council will vote on the Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) for the new contracts for each of the city employee groups, discuss the elimination of the Cost Allocation Plan (CAP) for citywide administration costs from Measure C funds and a possible pursuing becoming a charter city.

The MOU’s are the final step for the contracts the previous council unanimously approved Nov. 8, which last five years, beyond the end of Measure C, and provide a 4.5% pay raise an increase in benefits, at a total cost of $9.2 million to the city budget. As was stated in a previous Herald article, about 80% of the compensation increase will go to the police, including a 4.5% wage increase for sworn officers, and a 2.5% wage hike for non-sworn officers. Other union groups, including confidential employees, engineers and management, will receive annual pay hikes of 2-3% over the next five years.

The contracts are not final until the MOU’s are voted on. But, as stated by City Attorney Michael Vigilia in another previous Herald article on the contracts, “while it’s true that this is primarily a policy issue, there are also significant legal risks associated with a City Council potentially deciding to attempt to re-negotiate a tentative labor agreement that has already been approved by both a union and the City Council.”

City Manager Steve Duran made similar comments.

“The tentative agreements contain all business terms that were negotiated in good faith by the parties over many months,” Duran said. “They constitute, in writing, the business terms that the MOUs must contain, and have been ratified by the unions and approved by the City Council. Nickie and I have consulted with our professional labor negotiator and our City Attorney on this matter. Trying to change any of the business terms to which the parties have agreed is wrought with rather unpleasant legal and financial dangers to the City.

Vigilia and Duran were then asked if since the agreements are tentative and not finalized until the MOU’s are voted on, then how can there be legal ramifications if a new council majority wants to reopen negotiations and do something such as shorten the period?

Vigilia responded with, “To put it simply, the parties have reached a meeting of the minds as to the major terms of the MOU’s and each party has relied on the representations of the other party in deciding to agree to the terms. Once there is a meeting of the minds there is an enforceable legal obligation which would be very risky to break. The City, at the very least, risks breach of contract claims being asserted against it. Additionally, to attempt to renegotiate the terms exposes the City to potential charges of unfair conduct from the Public Employee Relations Board, which enforces collective bargaining laws covering public employees. This exposes the City to potential fines. As Steve and I stated, there are significant legal ramifications.”

Cost Allocation Plan

In one of the first moves to implement his agenda as Antioch’s new mayor, Sean Wright wants the council to eliminate the application of the city’s Cost Allocation Plan to Measure C funds, so that 100% of the sales tax revenue from the measure is used on what it was promised, more police and code enforcement. Following the CAP that’s been in place since 2005, staff has been allocating between 7.8% and 8.1% of the funds from Measure C that have been received by the police department to citywide administration.

That reallocation of Measure C funds out of the police department has become a bone of contention with some Measure C Oversight Committee members, including former member Sal Sbranti who has been outspoken on the issue, the public and some of the candidates during the most recent election.

Charter City

According to the League of California Cities, “Cities that have not adopted a charter are general law cities. General law cities are bound by the state’s general law, even with respect to municipal affairs.”

According to the staff report on the agenda item, “cities that adopt their own charter may adopt their own procedures, ordinances and resolutions for matters that are considered “municipal affairs” in the state of California. The report also includes a comparison of charter versus general law cities. City Charter is a written document that operates as the city’s “constitution” to the degree allowed under the California Constitution. A charter can only be adopted by a vote of the people of the City. Thus, a charter may be amended or repealed by subsequent votes of the people. An amendment may be proposed either by the city council or by initiative submitted to the council by the voters. Initiatives to adopt city charters may only be placed on the ballot during a general statewide election.”

So the soonest a charter city vote can take place is in November, 2018.

A charter city therefore has more control over its finances and governing than a general law city. If approved, becoming a charter city, by a vote of the people, would allow Antioch to have a full-time mayor, more council members and make it easier to raise taxes.

Only two cities in the county are charter cities, Richmond, which has seven council members and a full-time, paid mayor, and San Ramon, which has only five council members and no full-time, paid mayor. Of California’s 478 cities, 108 of them are charter cities.

The council meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Antioch City Hall, located at 200 H Street in downtown. They can be viewed via live stream on the city’s website or on Comcast’s local cable access Channel 24.

11 Comments to “Tuesday’s Antioch Council agenda: city employee contracts, eliminating citywide administration costs from Measure C funds, charter city, more”

  1. RJB says:

    Harper wasn’t using all of Measure C funds for what it was meant, such as police and code enforcement? Who didn’t see that one coming?

    Thankfully Sean is taking the right step to fix this problem.

    I wonder where the money went. I bet it went towards the fat raises and pensions for these city workers.

    • Me says:

      Not entirely Harper’s fault. City management with all council approval decided how to use the funds.

      Payments from Measure C to pensions? Perhaps partially, via the city-wide cost allocation, but no raises to city workers out of Measure C. Unless you consider PD city workers.

  2. JMZ says:

    I Think that pursuing those MOUs on 11/8/16 which was election night was dirty politics on the part of the prior mayoral administration. That topic should’ve either been left off the agenda in its entirety or the meeting on November 8 should’ve been canceled.

    • Marty Fernandez says:

      Worst team in the history of Antioch as far as I am concerned and that includes the city manager and attorneys we have had. Harper always said he could do better than Mr. Davis and that certainly has not been the truth.

  3. Julio says:

    Too bad Karl isn’t here RJB.

  4. Marty Fernandez says:

    This outrageous contract is a minimum of 22.5% over 5 years. Plus all the other goodies they get down the line. 4.5 plus 4.5 is 9% second year. 9% plus 4.5 is 13.5% the third year. 13.5 percent plus 4.5 is 18% the fourth year. 18 plus 4.5 is 22.5 the fifth year.

    This city owes CalPERS for the retirement to the tune of a couple of million. CalPERS is raising our payment requirements in a couple of months. Right now we pay minimally and only when we get extra one time money. This city is financially managed so poorly we are seriously close to no hope.

    Hopefully Dr Wright and his team can pull this out but it is an iffy situation. This contract must be voted down regardless of the information city staff is selling to the council.

  5. XXX says:

    Those are crazy figures. Who gets those kind of raises? Tell me, who. So the employees give up raises, salaries frozen, furloughs for this? Boy, I’d be happy to have my salary frozen and take a few days off with this reward. The Pension situation is a whole other story. Boy, things are really in an uproar. Try calling the city – customer service zero. I called the non-emergency police line and the girl was SO RUDE. Unreal.

    • Me says:

      Marty is only referencing the PD raises. They continued to get raises during their previous 6 year contract while the rest of the city had frozen salaries, furloughs, and layoffs. Those other employee groups only recently received any kind of raise. To address your question “Who gets these kind of raises?” Most city PDs do. And, according to their contract, Antioch PD is supposed to be the 2nd highest paid in the County.

      • XXX says:

        Well in my world, it will bankrupt a city so quickly. I get it that you have to remain competitive and get good people but when you couple this with pensions and healthcare, you’re asking for trouble. The problem is most officers retire young with full pensions and healthcare. So because of their age, you’re paying for healthcare and pension for a good long time. All while the city goes to rack and ruin. Sorry but that’s where Antioch was not more than 4 years ago.

        • Marty Fernandez says:

          Very soon we will reach the point we are paying full salaries to more people retired than we can afford to work. With this contract and the next round of retirements we most likely will reach that point.

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