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June 20, 2021

Board OKs concessions from law enforcement managers

San Benito County supervisors approved 6 percent in personnel cost concessions from the Law Enforcement Managers on Friday at the second special meeting in one week.

Board Chairman Jaime De La Cruz had called the special meeting after the four supervisors present were unable to come to a decision on whether to accept the concessions from the group. Supervisor Margie Barrios had been absent because she was in Sacramento on business.

Human Resource Analyst Jacki Credico presented the information again before the board on Friday, with Barrios asking her fellow supervisors to share their thoughts or concerns. Supervisor Anthony Botelho remained concerned that the group, which contains two employees, had not offered up at least 10 percent concessions. The group agreed to take five furlough days, contribute 9 percent to their retirement benefits, give up one week of administrative leave and to keep step freezes in place. Credico said the savings comes to about $11,650 for the county, but the concessions add up to about 6 percent.

“I want to hear from other supervisors why this isn’t acceptable,” Barrios said.

Supervisor Anthony Botelho was concerned on Wednesday that the group had not given up a 5 percent cost-of-living adjustment that would go into effect in 2013 and had not offered a full 10 percent concession.

“Our only two choices are to lay off people or ask employees to give back,” Botelho said. “I don’t know how else we are going to save jobs other than all others giving (something) up.”

Botelho and Supervisor Jerry Muenzer booth expressed concern that if they allowed the LEM group to only give up 6 percent and to keep the COLA in the following year, it would be harder to negotiate with other bargaining units.

Barrios asked Credico to clarify what other groups had made in terms of concessions and if any other group had been asked to give up concessions beyond the 2012-13 fiscal year. Credico said that no other group had given up concessions beyond 2012-13, but they were still negotiating with one bargaining group to ask them to give up a COLA in 2013.

Credico said the LEM group realized less savings from such things as step freezes because the two employees are not eligible for step increases this year and that the group also wanted to limit furloughs because it would be difficult for them to commit to 15 days, as the other groups had done.

Supervisor Robert Rivas again expressed concern over extending the furloughs.

“If we go back and look for additional savings, I will most likely be against furloughs,” he said. “We’ve had a reduction in people and when you have work furloughs on top of layoffs, who’s going to work? It’s great as a stop gap, but to keep extending it, there is a problem.”

Lt. Eddie Escamilla, who oversees jail operations, spoke on why his group offered the concessions they did and is not willing to give up the COLA.

“A lot was negotiated early in the year in good faith,” Escamilla said, asking if the supervisors did not agree to the concessions, if that would invalidate the vacation cap, furloughs and administrative leave give-backs. “We are asking for a COLA of 5 percent. We haven’t had raises in I don’t know how long. Every year we give back and we still have to lay people off.”

Barrios asked the supervisors if they would support accepting the current concessions from the law enforcement managers and then asking staff to go back to the table to negotiate for an additional 4 percent.

“We have to come to accept this is the new norm,” Muenzer said. “We want to think things will turn around and get better in a year or two, but it may be like this for a long time.”

The supervisors approved the concessions 4-1, with the understanding that negotiations would continue for additional concessions in the 2012-13 fiscal year. Botelho voted against the motion.

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