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City Scene: Folsom Police sacrifice to save jobs

By: Kerry Miller, Folsom City Manager
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This month the Folsom Police Officers Association (FPOA) ratified a new contract that restores police officer positions and preserves our community’s outstanding public safety services. The recently approved Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the city and the FPOA includes significant salary concessions, Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) employee cost sharing, and changes to the pension formula for future public safety employees. The new agreement is a strong reflection the FPOA’s commitment to safeguarding our community and maintaining a high level of public safety services. The contract makes possible the reinstatement of the sworn police officer positions that were eliminated in the Fiscal Year 2010-11 budget. The agreement also enables the Police Department to contain costs over the three-year term of the contract, while also achieving close to $1 million in pension savings for the city over the long-term. Given decreasing revenues and the tenuous state of our economy, these pension savings are critically important. I am keenly aware that ratification of this contract was a difficult decision for our officers and that it represents significant personal sacrifice for all. I am very grateful for their tremendous contribution during these difficult economic times. Their unselfish action will help ensure the city’s long-term fiscal stability and the preservation of quality public safety services. This is not the first time that the FPOA stepped up in a leadership role. Three years ago, the FPOA led the way on health care reform. Now, this new agreement serves as a model for city-wide pension reform. There is no denying that pension reform is a vital step as we strive to meet the challenges of today’s economic climate. It is clear that current pension costs are unsustainable in the long term, and without reform, will further strain local government resources. Joining the FPOA in recognizing the necessity of pension reform, the city’s executive management team began paying its full share of PERS retirement contributions on July 1. I salute the fine men and women of our Police Department for their dedication and sacrifice. As a direct result of their leadership, we will have more officers on the street, and Folsom will continue to be a great place to live with a low crime rate and high quality of life. Kerry Miller is the city manager of Folsom. He can be reached at kmiller@folsom.ca.us.