From: Star News
by: Tatiana Butko
SAN GABRIEL — Contract negotiations between the city and the San Gabriel Police Officers’ Association have stalled at least until April, officials said.
The association was given the city’s “last and best” final offer, which it rejected, said Robert Wexler, the attorney representing the police officers. He said Friday that association members consider the talks at an impasse.
But neither the city nor the union has declared a formal impasse, said City Administrator P. Michael Paules.
The negotiations, for the 1996-97 contract, are on hold at least until April, Paules said. “We agreed to put the negotiations into hiatus until later in the year, when our budget situation is clearer,” he added.
A cost-of-living allowance is the source of contention between the two sides, Wexler said. The association was ready to approve the contract had a cost of living increase been included, he said.
The city is not offering any raises to its employees this year, because of a 3.3-percent drop in general-fund revenue, Paules said. The loss of the Target store more than 18 months ago cut about $250,000 of the city’s revenue, he said.
Wexler contended the officers were not asking for high pay raises, only a cost-of-living allowance to keep pace with inflation.
“The city’s statement to its officers is for them to work for less money this year than last year,” Wexler said.
The association will consider what options it might have in the negotiations, since police officers are prevented by law from going on strike, Wexler said.