From: Martinez News-Gazette
By Joseph Bustos 11/19/15
At the last Regular City Council meeting residents came out in full support for better pay and benefits for Martinez Police Officers. Following closed session talks, citizens have been called on once again by the Martinez Police Officers Association (MPOA) to make their concerns known to city officials.
This comes in the wake of a recent compensation survey created by the law firm Rains, Lucia and Stern, PC, showcasing the total compensation of the Martinez Police Officers Association in comparison to other nearby Bay Area cities.
Martinez was compared to Police Officers Associations in Antioch, Benicia, Brentwood, Concord, El Cerrito, Pinole, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, and San Pablo, as suggested by the City of Martinez and agreed upon by the law firm. Factors involved in the comparison of “Total Compensation” involve maximum monthly salary, longevity, healthcare, and uniform allowance, among others.
The results are simultaneously sobering and yet unsurprising following recent outcry. Martinez POA falls dead last in multiple categories, significantly lower than all of the comparison agencies at $6,447 in terms of max salary, and second to last at $10,389 for total compensation, just above Benicia. The average figures for both respective categories lie at $7,780 and $11,746. Martinez is set at more than $1,000 under the average max salary for police officers associations, and is significantly behind the nearest comparison agency in Pinole by more than $500. MPD has been out of a contract since July 1.
MPD Corporal Mike Estanol was put back on into patrol after a few months of being assigned to the downtwon beat after the department lost another officer.
Working conditions for law enforcement officers is a popular topic lately, following the announcement of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office losing massive amount of deputies in favor of better paying organizations, and heavily struggling with new recruitment.
Labor negotiations are expected to continue in closed session following Wednesday’s City Council meeting. The MPOA is calling on all concerned citizens to attend the council meeting on Wednesday at 6:00 P.M. to show their support. MPOA gear can be purchased at their website, Martinezpoa.org.
Also for Wednesday’s council meeting are a presentation by Alliance NRG, an energy company that provides up to 100 percent financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy products on bot a residential and commercial scale. The company is set to present its Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program to the council.
The DC Solar Downtown Ice Rink is just about set for its grand debut. On November 21st the ice rink will be officially open to the public until January 3rd next year. Prices for the ice rink will range from $9 to $14 including skate rental. A presentation will be made on Wednesday on the particulars of the ice rink.
Results from the ad hoc and Subcommittees regarding the review of the Brown Act will be made. The Ralph M. Brown Act guarantees the public’s right to attend and participate in meetings of local legislative bodies.
A presentation is also set for the Main Street Mural project. The mural titled “A Small Town with a Big Heart” is dedicated in honor of 14-year-old Jenna Betti who tragically passed away last year after being struck by a train. The mural is the result of the combined effort of Jenna’s mother Dana and her close friend and artist Colleen Gianatiempo.
Other important hearings are set for an ordinance that would lower the speed limit on Alhambra Way from Pleasant Hill Road Easy to Alhambra Avenue from 25 to 20 MPH, an addition to the municipal code prohibiting trespassing, unlawful camping in areas not designated for human occupancy, sleeping in vehicles between 11 P.M to 8:30 A.M., and defecating or urinating in public.
Although there is no acknowledgement on the agenda, the upcoming council meeting will be the first since the resignation announcement of City Manager Rob Braulik. Although Braulik’s official last day is set for the last day of the year, December 31st 2015, the council is planning on beginning discussions for filling the vacancy or perhaps implementing an interim solution. He was originally selected as city manager in April earlier this year. As recently as November 2nd, Braulik underwent a special closed session for a public employee evaluation of his work.