Please join us in voting YES for Measure Q in order to save our city and bring us out of bankruptcy. There are many reasons to vote YES and I will list some that I think should be considered in order to SAVE THE CITY.
Currently, there are 120 firefighters in San Bernardino and the salary breakdown for these firefighters are: The top 40 make $190,000 a year; the next 40 make $166,000 a year; the next 40 make 130,000 a year, with only four living in the city.
As a fire unit they take over $17 million out of the city each and every year which make those who live in the city pay more so they can live in clean and safe communities. In addition out of the 120 firefighters there are only one female, six Blacks, and 19 Latinos employed in the department.
Argument in Favor of Measure Q
In every other city in California, the salaries of public safety employees are determined by collective bargaining and City Council resolution. Only in the City of San Bernardino is this not the case. Our City Charter dictates that outside forces will determine the salaries of our public safety employees. Specifically, the Charter mandates in Section 186 that we must pay our police and fire employees an average of what ten other similarly-sized California cities pay for comparable jobs.
On the surface this might seem like a good idea, but in practice it has been bad policy that has contributed to our City’s budgetary difficulties. Every other City has a unique economic situation and every other City negotiates employee salaries within collective bargaining. San Bernardino is locked out of this option.
To make matters worse, another part of Section 186 mandates shift hours for a firefighter. When this is coupled with the union’s labor agreement, it locks the City into mandatory overtime, which comes to approximately $7 million in FY 2014-2015.
The proposed amendment to Section 186 would require that collective bargaining be used to determine public safety salaries in San Bernardino, putting us on par with the other 481 cities in California. There is simply no reason that this can’t be done here in San Bernardino.
The safety of our citizenry is the highest priority of city government and we are proud of our police and fire employees. It is also the responsibility of government to find the best balance between public safety and other valued services, such as streets and public area maintenance, libraries, and parks and recreation services.
Every city should be able to self-govern and negotiate salaries with its employees. Please vote FOR the Amendment to Charter Section 186 and help us continue our journey into fiscal responsibility.
Rebuttal Argument to Measure Q
Those opposing Measure Q have taken the position that amending Section 186 of our City Charter would be detrimental to San Bernardino. They fail to realize that Section 186 has contributed to our budgetary difficulties and that amending it will help provide a framework that will aid our emergence from bankruptcy.
When the City filed for bankruptcy and reduced employee compensation to save money, the San Bernardino Fire Union sued the City and based their suit on Charter Section 186. The City lost the suit and was forced to increase employee compensation for public safety employees at the same time it was laying off other employees.
This amendment to the City Charter does not put the City at greater risk or make the City less safe, it merely gives management the tools to effectively respond to changing economic conditions. The San Bernardino Police Officer’s Association recently ratified a tentative agreement with the City. The SBPOA and the City are working together to keep San Bernardino safe and moving forward.
The Charter review committee carefully studied the charter and unanimously submitted their recommendation to amend Section 186 of our City Charter.
HELP SAVE SAN BERNARDINO CITY BY VOTING YES ON MEASURE Q