The agreement, approved by the American Federation of State, City and Municipal Employees last month, goes to the City Council for a vote on Dec. 10. The changes are estimated to cost the Menlo Park an additional $260,000 for the term of the contract, which runs from Dec. 11, 2013 to June 30, 2015.
Current salaries for managers and supervisors range from $53,461 to $112,511. In addition to the 4.5 percent pay hike, health benefits would increase about $60 to $250 per month. Family coverage, for example, would cost the city $1,931.07 a month per employee in 2014, and then $2,085.56 a month in 2015.
The salary and benefit increases will start to establish the city as a "competitive employer" within Silicon Valley, according to the staff report.
The past three years have seen a lot of staff turnover at City Hall — two planners announced their departures this fall and long-time Executive Secretary Pat Carson will retire in December. Earlier this year, City Clerk Margaret Roberts and Finance Director Carol Augustine accepted positions with other cities, while Police Cmdr. Lacey Burt retired.
Chief of Police Bryan Roberts and Engineering Services Manager Matt Oscamou left in 2012; Public Works Director Kent Steffens departed in 2011; and Business Development Manager Dave Johnson, City Manager Glen Rojas and Personnel Director Glen Kramer all retired in 2010 or 2011.
However, some of the relocations were to jurisdictions with lower pay and benefits than Menlo Park currently offers.
Concessions by the AFSCME, which appear minimal, include: four hours less for floating paid holidays; a prohibition against using accrued vacation time to cover an unpaid leave and against cashing out vacation hours on leave; and no awards for using eight hours or less of sick leave per year.
Employees hired after Jan. 1, 2013, may retire at age 62 with 2 percent of their highest salary. Employee contributions into the state retirement system, CALPERS, will be taken out of their paychecks as pre-tax deductions.
A new labor management committee will meet quarterly to educate employees on benefits and related topics, according to the proposed contract.
The agreement also proposes changes to the grievance and disciplinary appeal process, similar to those instituted earlier this year for public safety employees. In grievances, if the city and AFSCME can't agree on an arbitrator, one will be chosen from a list of five names provided by the state and who are members of the National Academy of Arbitrators. For disciplinary appeals, the list of five arbitrators will consist of judges retired from the San Mateo County Superior Court.
However, the arbitrator's decision will still be binding. Data published earlier this year by the Almanac showed that an arbitrator will order the reinstatement of a fired employee, as happened with a veteran Menlo Park police officer busted with a prostitute, or otherwise reduce discipline, approximately 50 percent of the time.