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Ceres police officers receive higher pay
Ceres Police building raises
Raises are being given to officers of the Ceres Police Department. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/ Courier file photo

The Ceres Police Officers Association and the city of Ceres have reached agreement on a new compensation package which offers higher pay to Ceres police officers.

City of Ceres Human Resources Director Theresa Roland said police officers and sergeants negotiated a three percent pay increase for the first year along with a nine percent pay equity adjustment for a total increase of 12 percent. But the agreement has officers picking up the full employee contribution toward retirement and eliminating the classic member pay of six percent.

Police will also get three percent pay increases in the second and third year of the three-year contract.

In addition, officers hired on or prior to March 1, 2020 will receive a one-time lump sum payment of $5,000 from the city’s share of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) passed by Congress. The $5,000 “bonus” is not retirement reportable and will not be included in the regular rate of pay for overtime purposes.

The MOU also calls for a one-time lump sum amount of $5,000 from ARPA funds to full-time employees hired on or prior to September 13, 2021 which will be paid out on the first full pay-period following Oct. 1, 2022.

“It’s a supplemental pay for working through the COVID pandemic,” explained Roland. “Our workforce wasn’t sent home as a lot of the other entities that were working remotely. We all continued to work through the pandemic so that was something that the council decided we could allocate.”

Brian Peterson, president of the Ceres Police Officers Association, praised the Ceres City Council last week for the better pay.

“It was much needed and long overdue in order to create unity amongst our officers which we have not in many years,” Peterson told the council. “Previous councilmembers who came before you were not able to, or perhaps not interested in, helping us achieve this unity quicker.”

Peterson said the better salaries have allowed Ceres Police to retain one canine handler officer who was planning to move over to the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department. Peterson added that the department was able to attract a seasoned officer in recent weeks.

“Before this contract we were the second lowest paid agency with the third largest city population in our county. With this contract we will once again be able to compete with our neighboring agencies when hiring and looking for great officers.”

On Oct. 11 the council approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA). The old MOU expired on June 30. The city’s negotiating team has been meeting with the labor group since April.

LiUNA covers various 96 different positions in the Miscellaneous Bargaining Group, including accountants, associate engineers, code enforcement officers, custodians, mechanics, public safety records and dispatchers, secretaries, water, sewer and streets employees.

Their new contract calls for a 3 percent pay increase the first year, 3 percent for the second year and 3 percent the third year.

An MOU was also approved for the first-line supervisors group of about 16 employees. The group includes supervisors and confidential employee categories.

Most of the bargaining units have also negotiated bonus pay through ARPA funds.