City of Turlock and Police Settle Continued Labor Agreement

After a heated debate and two week postponement, the Turlock City Council did not have to implement the labor agreement terms of the last, best, and final offer to Turlock Associated Police Officers (TAPO) but instead unanimously voted to adopt a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with TAPO and five other labor bargaining groups at the July 26, 2011, Council Meeting.

Turlock City Manager Roy Wasden acknowledged the hard work made by TAPO, City Attorney Phaedra Norton, and Human Resources Manager Sarah Eddy.
“We were able to come together and reach an agreement that has been ratified by the membership,” said Wasden. 
According to Wasden, there were no economic changes made in the agreement during the two week postponement.
A change that had been added includes extending arbitrary for disciplinary matters for days of suspension. Wasden said that he is pleased with this addition.
In addition to the TAPO agreement, Council unanimously passed labor group agreements for Turlock Management Association Public Safety, Turlock City Employees Association, Turlock Firefighters, Confidential Employees of the City, and Management Employees of the City.
Ratification of these labor agreements were postponed as a result of TAPO’s agreement being postponed.
Turlock City Employees Association Counsel Bob Phibbs spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, acknowledging the efforts made between Council and the Turlock City Employees Association.
“On behalf of TCEA, I did want to extend appreciation to the Council for pursuing the concept of fairness and imparity to the best of your ability,” said Phibbs. “We know that not everything can be always exactly equal, but there was a great effort made for parity and we do appreciate that.”
Although negotiations are now set in place, two weeks ago an agreement between the City and TAPO did not look promising.
Prior to the July 26 meeting, City and TAPO representatives held various meet and confer sessions regarding this issue. At the conclusion of meetings, representatives from both parties agreed that they were at impasse.
At the previous Council meeting, TAPO members passionately spoke to Council about potential ramifications if the offer was passed as presented.
A couple members made offensive comments directed at City Manager Roy Wasden and City Attorney Phaedra Norton as TAPO members were appalled at the way in which they were treated in negotiations.
TAPO members were also upset as they felt they were being underpaid and they felt some of the City’s top administrators are being overpaid.
Contrary to what some TAPO members thought, Phibbs commended Manager Wasden and Attorney Norton for the professionalism they demonstrated during negotiations.
A two week postponement seemed to be a successful move for the City and TAPO, and the resolution will be in effect until July 15, 2012.
Vice Mayor Amy Bublak was on both sides of the coin, as she is also an officer with the Modesto Police Department. She recognized the current impasse, and suggested to wait two weeks on the issue at the July 14, 2011, Turlock City Council Meeting.
“I’m really glad that we took a look at it and stepped back,” said Vice Mayor Amy Bublak. “Emotion is not where you should be making your decisions. There were so many other employees out there that could have been hurt by this, and each and every employee is important to us in every union.”

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