Turlock police union sues city for breach of contract

etracy@modbee.comSeptember 10, 2013 

    Erin Tracy
    Title: Breaking news reporter
    Coverage areas: Breaking news, crime
    Bio: Erin Tracy started working for The Bee in September 2010. She has a journalism degree from Humboldt State University and previously worked at the Daily Democrat in Woodland and the Times-Standard in Eureka.
    Recent stories written by Erin
    On Twitter: @ModestoBeeCrime
    E-mail: etracy@modbee.com

— The Turlock Associated Police Officers union is suing the city for breach of contract and is seeking to restore about $45,000 in pay to its members.

Sgt. Russ Holeman, the union president, said the city violated the union contract in November when it continued to deduct from its members’ salaries a 9 percent employee retirement contribution that expired Oct. 31.

The union in mid-December signed a one-year contract that continued the 9 percent employee contribution but it was only retroactive to Dec. 1, Holeman said.

In November, before a contract was in place, the union’s nearly 100 members continued to pay toward their retirement to the tune of about $45,000.

Turlock City Manager Roy Wasden said Tuesday he could not comment on active litigation.

Holeman said that on the date the retirement contribution clause expired, so did an equity adjustment that refunded 4.5 percent of the union members’ concessions for a period of six months. But while the refund ended, the retirement contribution continued.

“The city selectively enforced portions of the contract that were beneficial to them and detrimental to the employee,” Holeman said.

The Turlock Associated Police Officers union represents all sworn officers and sergeants, as well as dispatchers, animal control officers, community service officers, neighborhood preservation officers and property specialists.

The union filed a grievance in November, but it was denied by Wasden in January, so it followed up with a claim in May. The city never responded to the claim, Holeman said, so by default it was rejected and the union proceeded with the lawsuit in August.

The city and the union are scheduled to make their first court appearance Nov. 25.

Bee staff writer Erin Tracy can be reached at etracy@modbee.com or (209) 578-2366. Follow her on Twitter @ModestoBeeCrime.

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