Emergency contract talks

City Council approves funding for contract negotiator

During its Tuesday (Sept. 3) meeting, the Chico City Council approved the transfer of $80,000 from the general-fund emergency reserve to pay for an outside negotiator to help the city in upcoming contract negotiations with its nine bargaining units.

Chico Police Officer Peter Durfee, who heads the Chico Police Officers Association, argued that bringing in an outside negotiator does not qualify as an emergency. Citizen Emily Alma read a letter from David Welch, an Enloe nurse and member of the California Nurses Association; Welch questioned why outside help was needed unless “it is the intent to take an extremist ‘hardball’ approach to negotiations” by slashing wages and benefits.

Councilman Randall Stone said the transfer was understandable because 80 percent of the general fund goes to public-employee salaries and benefits. The council voted 6-1 to transfer the money, with Councilwoman Ann Schwab casting the dissenting vote.