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Orange County Focus

HUNTINGTON BEACH : Police Seek 5% Pay Hike, Better Fringes

June 02, 1993|BILL BILLITER

Although the city budget is so strained that layoffs have been considered, the city's police union is seeking a 5% pay raise and upgraded fringe benefits in a new contract.

Councilman David Sullivan, who was elected last fall after bitterly criticizing previous pay raises to police and other city officials, has denounced the new police salary demand.

"In view of the pay raises they have already received over the past three years, during a time which most people have received no pay raise whatsoever, I find the police association's demand for a 5% pay increase totally unacceptable," Sullivan said.

Sullivan said police in Huntington Beach received a cumulative 17% pay hike over the last three years. The city cannot afford another round of pay raises, he added.

The Huntington Beach Police Officers Assn.'s existing contract with the city expires Oct. 1. The union, in a letter to City Administrator Michael T. Uberuaga, disclosed its demands for a new contract.

The union's proposals included across-the-board pay raises of 5%, increased life insurance, additional funding for uniform allowance and more liberal accrual of vacation time.

In the letter to Uberuaga, union official Mark C. Reid said the police association is aware of the bad economic times. "In making these proposals, the employees are cognizant of the general economic climate and, specifically, that of the city of Huntington Beach," Reid said.

"Although certain of these proposals will have an economic impact, we consider them reasonable and within the city's financial ability," Reid added.

The City Council, however, has already said there is not enough money in the city coffers to continue existing pay for all employees. The council has said that one budget option to be considered next month is laying off employees, including some police and firefighters.

The council will hold a public hearing on its proposed budget June 7.

Uberuaga has proposed that the council initially adopt a $96.4-million budget that does not include layoffs. But he has outlined a $91.4-million alternative budget, which involves layoffs, in case state government withholds additional income from city government.

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