The San Luis Obispo City Council is planning to finalize its election plans Tuesday for two ballot measures on major pay and retirement reforms for public safety and other city workers, but first the city and the police union will square off in court.
The council’s push toward the measures has caused a political rift between the city and its public safety unions.
One measure would repeal a provision that lets police and fire unions call for a third-party arbitrator to decide their contracts if the unions and city can’t agree after negotiations. The other would make changes to the retirement benefits the city offers its employees. Both require approval by a majority of local voters.
This morning, Judge Charles Crandall of San Luis Obispo Superior Court is expected to decide whether the City Council can move forward with its plans.
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In the latest effort to delay the ballot measures, the San Luis Obispo Police Officers Association filed a petition last week seeking a court order against the city.
The union is fighting to keep binding arbitration. San Luis Obispo voters added that provision to the city charter in 2000.
The police officers union has used arbitration once, but the firefighters have not.
If Crandall grants the union the court order, it would prevent the City Council at its meeting Tuesday from calling an Aug. 30 special election of mail ballots.
The union wants to stop the council from setting the election date until a lawsuit filed May 3 is decided.
The union’s suit alleges that the city is ignoring its meet-and-confer obligations to the union. That requirement calls for city leaders to first discuss proposed major changes to any pay or benefits or the way they are determined.
State law requires the city to decide by June 3 whether to hold the August election.
Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.