Marysville police complain their pay keeps shrinking
Members of the Marysville Police Officers Association appeared before the City Council on Tuesday to express their unhappiness about failed contract negotiations.
The bargaining unit filed a petition on Monday in Yuba County Superior Court for a writ of mandamus.
That move effectively seeks to force the city's hand for imposing a new contract on police employees which they say had not been negotiated fairly.
The new contract includes paid furlough hours — an average of four per week — and represents a 5 percent cut in salary, according to association President Aaron Easton.
It also increases the share of health benefits paid by employees.
That increase represents 20 percent of take-home pay for roughly 10 nonsworn officers in the department, Easton said.
Lynda Cummings, who works as the department's crime scene investigator and who registers and tracks sex offenders, is one such employee.
Cummings, who said she has stayed on through three previous salary cuts in as many nears, said Tuesday she shops at Goodwill and gives thrift store gifts at Christmas.
"All I've asked is for a pay check that adequately supports my family," she said. Her hourly wage of $12.47, she said, is not doing the trick.
Testimony from sworn officers Tuesday was more sweeping.
"Your city — our city — is dying ... left to rot from the inside out," said Easton, who told the council that the culprit is not simply a lack of funds, but "a lack of creativity, a lack of vision and a lack of leadership."
Easton and the police association campaigned on Saturday on behalf of candidate Ricky Samayoa, a city councilman seeking to replace Mayor Bill Harris in November's election.
Purchasing the B Street property in 2006, Easton said, was a mistake for which the city now is punishing its employees.
"This is not a wage and benefits issue," he said, "It's a B Street property issue."
Detective Kevin Conde said the Police Department employees can't afford the new cuts, and that a decision to impose a new contract, "endangers the safety of the people of Marysville."
Conde, like Easton, pointed to the B Street property as an example of fiscal irresponsibility.
"Like all get-rich schemes, it failed," he said. "You cannot expect us to sit quietly by."
CONTACT Nancy Pasternack at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4781. Find her on Facebook at /ADnpasternack or on Twitter at @ADnpasternack.