Thursday, January 7, 1999
The Monterey Police Association (MPA) and the city of Monterey are making a third attempt this week to break a stalemate in contract negotiations that have left police officers and the city in a state of limbo for eight months. Negotiations between the city and the MPA began in May, but no agreement was reached by June 30 when the old three-year contract expired. The MPA declared an impasse on July 1, and mediation efforts to resolve the stalemate failed last month.
But, faced with the last resort--a City Council-imposed contract--police officers have once again returned to the bargaining table, presenting a new offer to the city last Monday. A council decision on the contract--which would be final--was scheduled for last Tuesday's City Council meeting, but has now been continued to Jan. 19. At CW press time, no contract agreement had been reached.
Detective Sergeant Frank Sollecito, vice president of the MPA, says police officers object to the city's proposal in which all three department watches would overlap one day a week. As of now, two watches overlap two days a week.
"The major opposition is they were going to change the working hours," says Sollecito, "the way we've been working for 27 years, but they didn't have the details worked out." Monterey police officers, says Sollecito, suspect that the schedule change is a subversive attempt to move toward an eight-hour a day, five-day work week, or a 5/8 plan. The officers currently work four, 10-hour days a week, or a 4/10 plan. Because police officers work nights and weekends, the change could significantly reduce time spent with family members.
But Jim Thomson, Monterey's assistant city manager, says the city is not currently advocating a move to a 5/8 plan. "[A 5/8 plan] has not been a formal proposal," he says. "There has been some background conversation, but it was never proposed during the negotiations this year."
Instead, the city's reasoning for the schedule change is to ensure that the overlap happens on the busiest call day, Friday, when more officers are needed.
"We thought it was a form of a win-win situation where [the officers] could keep their schedule," says Thomson, "and we could improve the level of service to the community." Thomson also notes that the new schedule would allow officers more time off on weekends.
Nevertheless, Sollecito says the schedule change is illogical and unnecessary. For example, he says, Saturdays are busier than Fridays. "The [proposed] program," he says, "is doomed to fail."
If parking in Oldtown Salinas, or the attempt thereof, is driving you crazy, fret not--a solution may be around the corner. The Oldtown Salinas Association (OSA) is steering a comprehensive parking management plan to the Salinas City Council this Tuesday, Jan. 12, and if all goes well, a council decision in favor of the plan may put parking problems in Oldtown's rearview mirror. But, it would also make parking more expensive. Here's an outline of the plan the Oldtown Association is proposing to:
&bul; Employ a full-time community service officer to enforce parking limits in one- and two-hour street parking spaces, and increase parking fines from $15 to $20.
&bul; Install day permit vending machines that accept bills and coins in parking lots 3, 8 and 13, and in the downtown parking garage.
&bul; Install surveillance equipment to deter auto break-ins, and paint the floor and ceiling of the garage white to improve lighting.
&bul; Increase monthly parking fees to $20 in lots 8, 13 and 14--up from $5 in lot 14, and $15 in lots 8 and 13--in order to create equality among the lots.
The OSA estimates that its plan will generate between $97,000 and $112,000 in new revenue annually, and is asking the council to allocate $60,000 of the projected new funds to the proposed downtown landscape maintenance program. cw