City of Oakdale workers will get a five percent raise in July with the signing of the recent contract for its police, fire, miscellaneous, and management employees. In return the employees have agreed to pay the full eight percent employee share of the PERS retirement costs with the sworn police and fire members paying their full nine percent share.
“I am pleased that the city was able to reach agreement with all four of its labor groups,” said Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer. “I appreciate the willingness of our employees to contribute towards their pension costs and to finalize the labor contracts. This is a critical step in stabilizing the city’s financial position.”
Whitemyer said that although the employees receive a five percent pay increase, the savings to the city was three to four percent by having employees cover their pension costs.
City workers have not received a raise since 2007 when the city claimed it was in a financial crisis and started laying off workers.
“To help the city minimize payouts, we agreed to be able to sell back holiday time each year,” said Oakdale Police Association President Brian Shimmel. “Other things such as other time compensation payouts were also discussed.”
Unfunded liabilities such as vacation, sick leave and other time off banks have been a concern for the city number crunchers. In a three year period from 2009-2011, Oakdale paid out nearly $1.9 million to departing employees and cited these “unfunded liabilities” as part of the cause of current budget problems.
Currently, an Oakdale police officer’s base annual salary is $47,496 to $57,228 with other benefits such as retirement and health insurance. That figure would rise to $49,870 to $60,090.
The Oakdale police pay is still $10,000 lower than other Stanislaus County agencies and close to $15,000 less than the highest compensated, Modesto, at $75,012 per year.
Operating Engineers Business Representative Mike Eggener, who represents the city’s miscellaneous employees such as public works, stated his membership was satisfied with completing the negotiations and having the contract signed.
“We have confidence in the current city manager with moving the city forward,” said Eggener. “The previous three didn’t do the city any favors.”
The city Memorandums of Understanding for the bargaining units go until July 2015.
“It frees us up for two years without having to negotiate and (we) can now devote our time to the city work efforts,” said Shimmel. “I’m sure the administration feels the same way.”