From the Orange County Register yesterday is this story about public employee unions and their city working together to solve budget problems. Funny how when you ask nicely and in a collaborative spirit things work out so much better.
HUNTINGTON BEACH â€“ City leaders agreed to cut about $4.5 million from city departments and unions in an effort to close a budget gap for this fiscal year.
The cuts approved Monday night included suspending a police department physical fitness program, using police helicopters less, having firefighters forego raises for the next 18 months, and increasing employees’ contribution to retirement funds. No full-time city staff members were laid off.
Mayor Cathy Green thanked the labor groups for their voluntary concessions, which totaled about $1 million for the next six months.
“It almost brings tears to my eyes to tell you how much I really appreciate (the concessions),” she said. “I am certainly grateful for all of you.”
The City Council voted to accept concessions from all of the city’s labor groups except the middle-management union, which expects to bring their cuts before the council March 15. Colleen Keith, president of the Managers Employee Organization, said the group expects to put a cap on paid time off and to increase their retirement contributions.
“I can assure you that the managers group has, by a very large majority, voted to approve concessions that provide our share of the contributions,” Keith said. “MEO is not now nor have we ever been unwilling to help the city out in a time of need. … We know that we are all in this together.”
Read the rest of the story here.