A sea of purple T-shirts filled Hayward City Hall chambers Tuesday night as union members were out in force at the council's meeting, with speaker after speaker asking the city to return to the bargaining table.
City negotiators declared an impasse in contract talks with members of Service Employees International Union Local 1021 in July, citing a lack of progress in talks.
The union held a three-day strike in August, and rallied outside City Hall before Tuesday's council meeting.
The city wants the workers to contribute 17 percent of their total salary and benefit package to help close a $2.6 million budget gap and to share the increasing cost of benefits. Hayward has asked for the same concessions from all its bargaining units.
The union counters that workers have made past concessions to help the city during the economic downturn, but maintains that Hayward now has enough revenue to compensate them fairly.
"We can only give so much," Gil Hesia, vice president of the Hayward chapter, told the council. "You expect us to work for less and do more."
The union has requested that talks now go to fact finding, said Kelly McAdoo, assistant city manager. Both sides will present financial information to a neutral panel, which will then present a report to the City Council, probably sometime after the first of year, she said.
SEIU Local 1021's Hayward chapter represents more than 350 full- and part-time workers, including librarian assistants, water sanitation and water treatment workers, street maintenance and road crews, crime scene technicians, 911 dispatchers and administrative staff.
Move to strengthen police review panel
The Oakland City Council is seeking to bolster staffing for the civilian board that investigates complaints against police officers after the police department's federal overseer blocked the council's directive to expand the board's role at the expense of the police department's internal affairs division.
On Tuesday, council members said they would earmark some of the $1.4 million slated to hire civilian workers to intake complaints against police to the Citizens' Police Review Board.
In a bid to free up officers on desk duty for patrol work and encourage residents fearful of the police to make complaints, the council had voted to civilianize the complaint intake jobs and consolidate them in the civilian board.
But the department's court-appointed compliance director, Thomas Frazier, overruled that decision last week in part over concerns that the civilian board, which lacks a permanent director, wasn't up to the task, according to council members who spoke with him.
Instead the civilian employees will work inside the police department. Originally, the council had earmarked funds to hire eight complaint intake workers, but police officials now say the task only requires five jobs, so the council plans to use the leftover funds to bolster the civilian board.
Vote delayed on Dumbarton Quarry
The plan to convert Dumbarton Quarry into a regional park in Fremont has been in the making for nearly two decades. So, what's a few more weeks of haggling between the East Bay Regional Park District and Dumbarton Quarry Associates -- the private company that operated a crushed rock aggregate quarry at the site?
Twice the issue was placed on a City Council meeting agenda this month, only to be postponed at the last minute. The most recent instance of this political yo-yoing occurred Tuesday, when the item was rescheduled after the park district and quarry company again asked for more time.
"They're still working out the details," said Wayne Morris, Fremont's senior planner. "The city is ready to go." The item now has been rescheduled for the Oct. 1 council meeting, Morris said.
Park district and company officials did not immediately return phone messages left Friday.
It's not the first time the project has hit delays. Two years ago, the park district wrote a letter to Fremont officials, questioning Dumbarton Quarry Associates' willingness to honor its deal to convert the 91-acre quarry into a park. However, officials recently said most of those concerns have been addressed and the conversion plan seemed headed toward final approval.
New sports field opens in Berkeley
A new sports field on the corner of Derby Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, owned by the Berkeley Unified School District, officially opens at 11 a.m. Saturday with a reception sponsored by the school district.
Tim Moellering Field, named after the former Berkeley High School baseball coach and history teacher who died of cancer in 2011, features the school's first regulation-size baseball field, a basketball court and grass area that can be used for a variety of sports.
The field is open to the public when it is not being used by Berkeley school teams. Large groups need to get a permit from the school district's facilities department.
Deal trades raises for pension contributions
Managers in San Leandro City Hall and the police department, as well as the city's classified staff, will receive a 10 percent to 12 percent pay raise over the next two years under deals signed by the City Council this week. In return, they will begin paying a portion of the their pension costs.
The trade off is similar to the one made with the city's 80 police officers earlier this year and helps whittle down the city's growing bill for retiree costs.
In a statement, Mayor Stephen Cassidy thanked employees "for their financial sacrifices during the Great Recession," and for reaching a deal "that offers a pay raise while curbing rising pension costs that left unchecked threaten our fiscal sustainability."
The management contracts cover 39 employees, including eight police managers and 31 city managers. The city's eight classified employees work in the city manager's office, city clerk's office and human resources department.
The largest pay raises were granted to police managers, who will get a 3 percent increase this year, 4 percent next year and 5 percent in June 2015. City managers and classified staff will get 2.5 percent this year, 3.5 percent next year and 4 percent in June 2015.
All three groups will begin paying some of the employee share of their pensions this year, and reach full employee share contributions by June 2015. The employee share of pension costs for city managers and classified staff top out at 7 or 8 percent of their salary, depending on the position. Police managers will pay 9 percent.
A separate deal that calls for the city's 255 clerical and maintenance employees to also pay their 8 percent employee share of their pension will go to the council for approval Oct. 7.