The Daily Bulletin yesterday had an article by Wes Woods II about legal actions taken by the Claremont Police Officer Associations in response to the City's decision to unilaterally impose a one-year police contract that calls for Claremont public safety employees to pay 6-percent of their 9-percent CalPERS retirement contribution.
Up until the new contract was imposed, the City had paid the CPOA employees retirement contribution. The City has argued that that payment is not fiscally sustainable.
The CPOA, through its attorney Dieter Dammeier, have taken a pretty hard negotiating stance. The Bulletin article indicated that Dammeier has gone on a fishing expedition, making a court request for City documents:
An unfair labor practice charge was filed in late October with the state Public Employment Relations Board. The city has 30 days to respond to the filing.
Attorneys for the association also filed a writ of mandate in Pomona Superior Court requesting salary information for Claremont's city manager, assistant city manager, City Council members, retired members of the council and executives of city departments.
Both actions were filed "because we were treated differently than the rest of the city," said Dieter Dammeier, attorney for the Claremont Police Officers Association, referring to the Oct. 25 council decision.
We had a couple reactions to Dammeier's requests. First, if he's too lazy to check the City's online archives, why can't he ask the City Clerk for the documents like everyone else? To be fair, this seems to have started as a simple document request, but Dammeier's document demand sounds so broad that he would always be able to claim the City hadn't been forthcoming in its response. That would then open the door to Dammeier's media play, first by filing for a writ of mandate in Superior Court, which would then generate the headlines Dammeier seeks.
Second, Dammeier's claim that the City is treating the CPOA differently from other city employees strikes us as awfully hypocritical. Dammeier's recent tactics have been to have the CPOA argue that they deserve to be treated differently because police duties are different than other employees.
The CPOA's complaint has been that they haven't been treated differently at all and that public safety employees deserve different types of contracts than every single other city employee. Seems like Dammeier's trying to have it both ways when it suits him best.
This is exactly why it's so hard to take sides in the current police contract negotiations. The City's played the same games in the past, arguing both sides of an argument depending on the situation. City? Dammeier? It's a match made in heaven.