Police officers, firefighters expected to relinquish pay 

Police officers and firefighters may give back $40 million in wages and benefits as Mayor Gavin Newsom works to eliminate a $483 million budget deficit. 

The leaders of both unions are offering a plan that would save about $20 million in wages from each department. Now that the Mayor’s Office has tentatively approved the deal, union members have to vote to accept the changes.

The negotiations are “very, very close,” Newsom said Tuesday.

The exact details have not been made public, but San Francisco Fire Fighters Local 798 President Tom O’Connor said he expects members to approve the new contract. It will most likely involve giving up a planned raise.

“When you see that they’re laying people off citywide, we felt we needed to step up,” O’Connor said.

Leaders of the San Francisco Police Officer’s Association had scoffed as recent as February at opening up contracts after giving up $16.7 million in raises last year. At a hearing in front of the Police Commission in February, Newsom said officer layoffs, the loss of a federally funded Police Academy class and the transfer of officers to part-time status were all part of the discussions.

Officers are scheduled to receive a 4 percent raise in July. Vice President Kevin Martin said the union is “painfully aware” of the economic situation.

“Certainly we want to do what we can, but we also need to remain loyal to our members,” Martin said.

The Fire Department, which has been racking up record amounts of overtime, is currently understaffed by 150 to 200 firefighters, O’Connor said. In order to save money in benefits, the department has been calling for mandatory overtime to help fill the void.

“Some like it because of the extra money, but after a while,  you get sick of it,” O’Connor said.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

Examiner Staff Writer Erin Sherbert contributed to this report.

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Brent Begin

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