City of SLO reaches agreement with police officers union

The San Luis Obispo City Council approved an agreement Tuesday night with the police officers union which forgoes a second consecutive year of cost-of-living increases and additional health insurance contributions in 2011.

The city’s agreement with the Police Officers' Association mimics agreements made with four other groups of city employees for the period of Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2011.

The police officers' union -- which represents 62 employees -- had stalled on negotiations, not because it wanted pay increases but because it wanted a guarantee the city wouldn't cut any more positions from its line-level staff, according to Matt Blackstone, the union's president. Line-level staff includes patrol and traffic officers, detectives, dispatchers and technicians.

There was no guarantee that additional positions would not be cut.

The city faces a budget gap of $2.6 million over the next five years. City Manager Katie Lichtig said to achieve financial sustainability the city needs to have the flexibility to reduce positions if necessary.

The agreement provides an estimated savings of $233,800, in addition to estimated savings of $490,000 from the other groups, which include the majority of city workers and firefighters.

--AnnMarie Cornejo