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City employees agree to cuts
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Ceres firefighters, police and fire managers and other city supervisors have agreed to contracts that result in a savings of 10 percent to taxpayers to help the city through difficult financial straits.

On Monday the Ceres City Council voted to approve agreements with four groups. Two more union groups, that of the Police Officers Association (POA) and the Miscellaneous Employees Bargaining Unit, should settle in time for the June 28 City Council meeting.

The new contracts, which cover the period from July 1, 2010 to June 390, 2012, result in a savings of $607,434 to the city. When it's all over, the city expects to save $750,000 in labor costs when it was shooting for $1 million.

"Most of the groups obviously did not relish in the idea but were willing to work with the city to achieve its goal of less expenditures," said Mike Borges, the Deputy Police Chief who is the interim Human Resources manager. "Every employee is in this process," said Borges.

The city's goal is to stave off layoffs, said Borges, but the city is not offering any guarantees.

"No bargaining group was given a guarantee that there won't be layoffs, but we're hoping we will be able to stave off layoffs by these concessions."

The bargaining groups and concessions and savings are as follows:

• Firefighters Local #3636 - Savings of $278,125, (or $10,300 per firefighter), by giving up 134 hours of holiday pay per year per employee, uniform allowances and two percent salary.

• Public safety managers - Savings of $99,770 (14,252 per manager), by giving up holiday pay, uniform allowance, pay out for unused sick and vacation time, forgoing all professional development funds, and each member paying 11 percent of their employee contribution for retirement. Included in this group is the batallion chief, deputy police and fire chiefs and a police lieutenant.

• Mid-managers - Savings of $120,168 by giving up 13 holidays, half of professional development funds and taking on 13 unpaid furlough days. This group includes water and public works superintendents, city clerk, the city engineer and assistant city engineer, senior planner, redevelopment manager, technology manager, budget and accounting manager and the assistant city manager.

• Supervisor/confidential Bargaining Group - Savings of $109,371 by forgoing 12 holidays and taking on 13 unpaid furlough days.