Following calls from residents and City Council members alike for city employees to share the burden of the economic downturn, Menlo Park officials are meeting with representatives from the city's police unions.
The city doesn't necessarily plan to ask the unions to renegotiate their contracts, said City Manager Glen Rojas. Rather, it is trying to open a general dialogue with the unions about possible cost-cutting measures, as the city looks to narrow a projected deficit of over $2 million.
City staff members are scheduled to discuss the outcome of the meeting with the City Council in closed session, prior to the regular council meeting Tuesday, May 5.
The city is also beginning negotiations with the unions that represent the city's staff; that contract expires in October.
The city plans to meet with its unions on an ongoing basis, Mr. Rojas said.
"We're looking at the budget, looking at it together to talk about finding ways to reduce costs over the long-term -- not just in (fiscal year) 2009-10, but in (fiscal year) 2010-11," Mr. Rojas said. "We want to make sure we're all working on this together."
Officers in the police department negotiated a new contract that went into effect in July 2008, calling for hefty raises; the average officer's salary will increase 25 percent by July 2011 from its level in the spring of 2008. At the time, council members said the raises for officers were necessary to halt an exodus of officers from the police force.
In January, police sergeants agreed to a new contract, with pay raises similar to those in the officers' contract, over an outcry from residents who thought the pay hike too steep -- especially during a period of severe economic stress.