Pacific Grove Police and City Pursue Settlement, Postpone Trial Date
January 28, 2013
The city of Pacific Grove is well branded by its monarch butterflies and John Steinbeck lore, but the defining issue of the day is less likely to draw tourists: public-safety pensions.
In 2010 the P.G. City Council, pushed by voters, adopted a new rule limiting city pension contributions to 10 percent of employee salary. Police pushed back, arguing that the 10-percent cap was illegal. (In 2002, the council approved a "3 at 50" pension package for public-safety officials—a decision whose legality the P.G Taxpayers Association bitterly contests.)
Now, both city and police union officials are scrambling to avoid a messy court battle. The P.G. Police Officers Association's contract expired Dec. 31, as the two sides hit an impasse over the city's pension contribution.
P.G. City Manager Tom Frutchey (pictured above) says officials met with members of two police unions on Jan. 23 and talked about two outstanding issues—the lawsuit and the contract negotiations.
The unions returned with a counter-proposal Jan. 25, he says, and legal counsel on both sides recommended a postponement of the trial scheduled to begin Feb. 25. The proposed new trial date is April 15, Frutchey says, but he hopes the matter can be settled before then.
"We did not have an agreed-upon settlement on Friday, but we are making lots of progress," he says. "Better to postpone the court date so we can continue the settlement discussions.”