San Jose city leaders took a big step Tuesday in repairing the damage caused by the so-called pension reform measure, Measure B: The city council approved an agreement with the police and firefighters unions, which replaced some of the severe benefits cuts and restored pay.
Police and firefighters have already ratified the agreement, which will take the place of the voter-approved Measure B passed in 2012.
The measure drastically cut benefits and pension for the city's police and firefighters, leading to an exodus of officers from the city's police department.
The effects of the Measure B cuts could be followed by the falling number of police officers. A force once staffed at 1,400 cops is now down to around 900.
Tuesday, the city and its police and fire unions agreed to a new deal that restores pay, including a 5 percent bonus and a total of 8 percent in raises, but also mitigates some of the retirement and disability benefits cuts. Almost as important: It is designed to end expensive litigation and the ongoing public battles.
"I'd rather not get into focusing on 'what ifs' or 'should we have,’ 'shouldn’t we have?’” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said. “What I know is where we were at in terms of the police and fire offers were in March of 2012, and where we're at now, is very different."
"This deal has the will of the voters by saving a tremendous amount of money,” said Officer James Gonzales, vice president of the San Jose Police Officers' Association. “And at the same time we were able to negotiate benefits that are competitive in the field of law enforcement."