IB Firefighters Lose Big Benefits Under New Pension Agreement


IB Firefighters Lose Big Benefits Under New Pension Agreement

Effective immediately, the city’s Firefighters/Paramedics take on more costs to save Imperial Beach tens of thousands of dollars over the next five years as the city will no longer pay toward employee’s retirement pensions.

After months of negotiation, the Imperial Beach Firefighters’ Association Local 4692 and City of Imperial Beach have entered into an agreement for the next two fiscal years.

City Council approved the agreement at their Sept. 7 meeting.

The new agreement is a big change in Firefighters/Paramedics retirement benefits as employees will now pay the entire portion of theirCalifornia Public Employees’ Retirement System(CalPERS) contribution.

Until the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) were agreed upon,Imperial Beach was one of the last cities in the county that still paid the entire employee portion for retirement benefits for all firefighters.

The new MOU for fiscal years 2011-2013 will save the city $52,000 in benefit charges over the next two years and could save $28,000 or more each year for the next five years.

Efective immediately, terms of this MOU are retroactive to July 1, 2011.

Fire Captain and Public Safety Department director Tom Clark said there are no cost of living adjustments during the term of the agreement for the city’s 11 full-time Firefighters/Paramedics.

The MOU mandates an Insurance Committee be established to review alternative insurance options. Clark said a review of health insurance options is necessary as continuous changes are happening on the national level.

“We don’t know what will happen with Obamacare,” Clark said. “Changes there can impact our employees drastically, especially part-time employees.”

Also part of the agreement, as of January 1, 2012, smoking and tobacco of any kind is prohibited while on-duty. No employees can have visible tattoos while on-duty with the exception of workouts and physical fitness inside the fire station. Visible piercings are limited to one set of stud earrings per earlobe.

Mayor Jim Janney said it is important to acknowledge the members of the city’s Fire Department and its commitment to creating a MOU that offsets the City’s budget in tough economic times. He said firefighters have joined other city employees that stepped forward to agree to benefit cuts.

“They really bent over backwards to accommodate the City’s struggling budget, with what we have and what we can do to continue operating,” he said.

Employees hired before July 1 will receive a stiped worth four percent of their pay in July in 2011 and 2012 to help them transition into increased health insurance costs for employees.

New hires after July 1 will be paid two percent at age 50 using the average of employee’s highest three-year salary and pay the entire employee contribution.

Employees may not transfer unused sick leave to CalPERS service credit. Part-time employees participate in the Public Agency Retirement Services (PARS), and will no longer pay into Social Security.

Maximum payments toward health insurance coverage or the purchase of other qualified benefits by the City will increase to $825, an increase of $50 July 1 and $855, an increase of $30 in July 2012.

Employees choosing alternative health care may cash out as taxable cash benefit a maximum of $775 per month for 2011.

Effective January 1, 2012 the payout will be reduced to $400 per month.

New hires under an alternative medical plan may cash out a maximum of $150 per month. Eligibility to opt out of the City’s health plan requires proof of alternative medical and dental insurance.

Employees hired prior to July 1 may accrue up to 1400 hours of sick leave and will receive cash payment on June 30 each year for accrued hours over the maximum. New hires may accrue up to 1120 hours, with a payout of excess each June 30.

Firefighter/Paramedics will receive a specialty pay to maintain paramedic license of 11.3 percent of base pay, captains 5 percent and engineers 7.5 percent.

Retaining a paramedic license is a condition of employment with the city for all Firefighters/Paramedics.

Though not a condition of employment for captains and engineers, Clark said this specialty pay helps pay for the high cost of maintaining a paremedic license.

“This specialty pay is for employees that use their paramedic license every day on duty,” Clark said. “They are compensated monthly for license upkeep and current continuing education.”

An addition to the MOU provides staffing for three full-time fire suppression personnel for all shifts and provides classification for the position of Firefighter/Paramedic Recruit, working at a reduced salary until graduation and a probation period of one year.

Changes made include hours of work, educational benefits, physical examinations, out of classification pay, and holiday and vacation benefits.

This is agenda item 2.3 on the Sept. 7 City Council agenda.


Demolition of Miracle Shopping Center, Firefighter Pensions, BID Review at Wednesday City Council Meeting


Demolition of Miracle Shopping Center, Firefighter Pensions, BID Review at Wednesday City Council Meeting

An agreement has been reached between the city and its Firefighter’s Association, but negotiations will continue.

After long negotiations, the City and the Imperial Beach Firefighter’s Association Local 4692 are expected to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at Wednesday’s City Council meeting for pay and benefits for the next two fiscal years.

The MOU includes higher cost of health insurance and retirement plans with the city using stipends to help employees transition. Reclassification of employees, sick leave, holiday and vacation benefits, personal appearance and an insurance committee to investigate new insurance options are part of the package.

This MOU will take effect immediately, but both parties will continue negotiations to finalize the language of the MOU and return to council later for approval.

This is agenda item 2.3

Also on agenda is awarding a contract for the demolition of the Miracle Shopping Center on 9th and Palm. $1.6 million will be spent to cover the cost of the demolition and remaining fees to relocate businesses that occupied the property.

Staff is requesting council authorize execution of a contract with the lowest responsive bidder and adopt the resolution authorizing the City Manager to execute a construction contract.

This is agenda item 6.7.

Agenda item 2.4 awards the building of a fence around the Sports Park and Recreation Center’s Skate Park to Harris Steel Fence Company. Fiscal impact is $155,000 and will be paid for with redevelopment agency funds.

Agenda item 4.1. is for approval of new Skate Park hours, rules and regulations which includes allowing razor scooters, requiring safety equipment and limited hours of use throughout the year. New rules will be effective 30 days after the ordinance is signed and is estimated to cost $450 for new signage.

In order for the American Legion Post 820 tomove forward with a new building first proposed by the city’s redevelopment agency, the IB Housing Authority is supporting financing and Housing Funds for this project are available in the 2011-2012 budget. The new four story building would provide a new hall for the American Legion and 30 housing units for seniors and veterans.

Construction is scheduled to begin February 2012 with the grand opening of the new facilities in March 2013.

This is agenda item 6.1.

An annual report addressing outlines and goals of the Imperial Beach Business Improvement District (BID) will be presented to council. Prepared by Nakawatase and Company, the report contains a list of comments and recommendations for city staff to work with the BID to promote local businesses and resolve their issues. Among other things, the report recommends the BID improve their accounting practices.

This is agenda item 6.4.

The city’s Code Enforcement department will seek abatement of three abandoned properties whose owners have not complied with code compliance issues in regards to weeds, rubbish, refuse and dirt. Properties include 715 Holly Avenue, 822 Georgia Street and 1106 7th Street.

This is agenda item 5.1.

With an increase of outdoor vending machines, city staff proposes regulating the placement of outdoor vending machine within commercial zones, excluding Seacoast Avenue. In the resolution, all merchandise is subject to approval of the Community Development Department. Staff recommendations include the number of vending machines per building as well as their placement, appearance and maintenance.

This is agenda item 5.2.

Largely supported by the general fund at approximately $831,000, the Public Works Department seeks approval of the Annual Report for the Jurisdictional Urban Runoff Management Plan (JURMP) for 2010-11. JURMP plans protect and improve water quality of the Otay River, Tijuana Rivers, San Diego Bay, Tijuana Estuary and the Pacific Ocean.

This is agenda item 5.3.

City staff is asking City Council for direction on what to do about the 2012-2013 Annual Funding Plan Strategy using funds from the Community Development Block Grant Program.

Final approval is expected in May 2012. Projects coming before council for approval include: Sports Park and Veterans Park restroom remodeling, crosswalks at 5th Street and Imperial Beach Boulevard, 5th Street and Palm Avenue, 5th Street and Rainbow Avenue Turn Pockets, traffic calming measures and ADA ramps on Imperial Beach Boulevard at 2nd, 3rd and/or Connecticut Street, sidewalk infill, new curbs and gutters on Citrus and Bonito Avenue and Delaware Street and the Graffiti Abatement Program. Cost of these projects are estimated at $137,000 each.

This is agenda item 6.3.

A resolution to adopt Public Agency Retirement Services (PARS) as an alternative retirement plan for part-time employees will decrease the amount part-time employees pay. Exempted from contributing to Social Security at 12.4 percent of annual salary, PARS contribution is 7.5 percent of salary. Fiscal impact estimated at $14,000 yearly in savings for the City.

This is agenda item 2.6.

Agenda item 6.6 is a resolution requesting the City Manager to enter into professional service agreements with Urban Systems Associates, Dudek & Associates, and Power Plus for consultant services for the State Route 75/Delaware and 7th Streets Intersection improvement projects. The approved projects include Highway 75 improvements and approximately 60,000 square feet of retail and commercial space. Funds allocated to this project total $2,000,000 in a previous Cooperative Agreement between the City Council and Redevelopment Agency Board.

Council will be asked to approve city expenses detailed in the warrant register with $738,092.54 in accounts payable that includes more than $450,000 for the San Diego Sheriff for June 20ll law enforcement services, and $299,020.49 in payroll expenses ending August 11, 2011. A total of $1,037,113.03.

City staff will recommend a five-year lease with IKON/RICOH Office Solutions, Inc., for new integrated copiers, printers and technology specifically designed for the City’s current needs. Total yearly fiscal impact is about $24,500 annually with an expected savings to the City of about $21,000 over the term of the lease.


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