Dollars to donuts: Cops get pay raise

Chico police officers have joined the other municipal service unions in how they structure their contracts with the city, agreeing last month to tie future pay raises for cops to how well the city does overall.

As a result, the cops will realize a 9 percent pay hike retroactive to June 30, another 7 percent jump Dec. 29, combined with no less than 3 percent that comes from the formula based on the city’s General Fund revenue at the end of the fiscal year, explained Christine Erlandson, the city’s personnel director.

In total, the December raise should be about 10.1 percent, Erlandson added.

“We close the books on June 30 and then begin the budget process,” she said “and prepare a report on the General Fund revenue.”

Next fiscal year will determine the amount of the scheduled Jan. 1, 2004 pay raise for police. According to the formula, the greater the increase in the General Fund, the greater the raise for the employees. If there is no increase, there is no raise, but a decrease in the General Fund does not equate to a decrease in pay.

Erlandson said the city has based its contracts with other employee groups, including the firefighters, on the General Fund-based formula for the past 10 years. This is the first time the police union has agreed to it. She said that Chico is the only city she is aware of that ties its service contracts to its fiscal health in this way.

“It’s unique in that it works for fairness on both sides,” she said. “If revenue is good for that year they are going to get a raise.”

In addition to the 9 percent retroactive raise and the 10.1 percent December raise, the police received a 4 percent increase that was part of the old contract, but gave up a 5 percent increase scheduled for July 2003 with the adoption of the new contract, which runs until Dec. 31, 2007.