Negotiations took nearly eight months — spanning across two Turlock City Councils — but last week on March 31 both sides finally reached a deal on the contract between the Turlock Associated Police Officers (TAPO) and City of Turlock.
The two sides have long debated over pay for Turlock police officers, after TAPO took pay cuts several years ago. TAPO long cited that officers were underpaid and that was causing officers to leave for other agencies. The lack of competitive pay has also made it difficult for the City of Turlock to fill vacant position within the Turlock Police Department.
“This has been a six-year process and I’m proud that this City Hall is the one to restore those wages that our police officers selflessly gave up,” said Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth.
Negotiations continued until March 30, when TAPO approved the the City’s offer.
“The TAPO negotiations teams has worked diligently with the City Council to come up with a contract that we believe to be fair based upon the confines of the me too clauses the previous Council approved with other labor groups,” said TAPO President Sgt. Russell Holeman after the March 30 vote. “While the contract will still leave TAPO members below the median of comparable cities, this contract gets us somewhat closer to the median.
“I would like to thank Mayor Soiseth and the rest of the Council for their willingness to hear us out concerning our total compensation and ways to close the gap without triggering the me too clauses that other labor groups received.”
At a special meeting, Turlock City Council unanimously approved the contact.
While the relationship between the City and TAPO has been rocky at times, this new contract may be a sign of a better relationship going forward.
"I think this process opened lines of communication between TAPO and the City,” said Soiseth. “I hope to continue that communication."