DOWNEY – The City Council on Tuesday approved another round of cuts to employee compensation.
The city cut back medical benefits and secured the rights to enact up to 72 hours of furlough time from several employee groups, including maintenance workers, management, miscellaneous employees, and clerical staff at the police and fire departments. Employees will also have to chip in more for their pensions. Command staff at the police department also agreed to put off a raise until 2014.
The changes will save the city about $1.5 million this fiscal year and could end up saving hundreds of thousands more the following years, according to City Council reports.
The new deals require most employees begin to pay some of the “employee contribution” part of pension contributions. Employees will pay 2 percent of the employee contribution this fiscal year and then will begin paying 4 percent the following fiscal year. For about the last 10-15 years, cities all over the state paid employees’ share of pension costs. Now several area cities, including Downey, have been asking their staffs to pick up some of the employee payments.
The cuts in Downey came as part of a package of contract negotiations that started when the City Council started to whittle down an $11 million deficit in spring.
Firefighters and police also took large cuts, but those contracts were enacted by the City Council at its July 10 meeting.
The council 0n June 26 approved a $135 million budget, which was down from a $144 million budget the previous fiscal year. It was the first time in three years the city passed a balanced budget.