Campbell council rejects police contract

By jeanne starmack


Council unanimously rejected a new contract with police, and that means the issue may end up in court, or the contract may be re-negotiated.

Council also voted 4-1 to advance to a second reading an ordinance on a city-employee hiring freeze.

The police contract, signed July 27 by Mayor George Krinos and Police Chief Gus Sarigianopoulos, gives raises of $1 an hour to six of the city’s 12 police officers. Those raises bring the officers up to parity with the others. Officers hired after 2005 were on the lower pay tier because of the city’s financial problems.

The pay issue was decided by an arbitrator, and Krinos did not consult council before he waived fact- finding and went straight to arbitration.

But the pay is no longer as big an issue for council members, said council President William VanSuch.

VanSuch said the raises, which cost the city $16,500 more a year in salaries and benefits, will be covered by an allocation to the police department for a detective who’s no longer there.

More of an issue, he said, is a clause in the pact that takes away council’s right to decide how many officers the police department can have and gives that right instead to the mayor.

That clause is in conflict with the city charter, which is what gives council the power to decide.

VanSuch and other council members agreed that only the voters can decide who gets that right.

Two council members, Michael Tsikouris and Juanita Rich, voted against an emergency resolution authorizing the police department to give civil-service tests for a hiring- eligibility list.

Rich said she voted “no” to keep Krinos from hiring another police officer.

She said he indicated at a caucus meeting Aug. 25 that he intended to do that.

But the legislation, she said, is meant only to compile an eligibility list.

The resolution passed. But because it needed four votes to pass as an emergency, it is not in effect for another 30 days.

The hiring freeze ordinance, if passed, would affect all full- and part-time employees and volunteers, said VanSuch. But it can be amended, he added.

Council member Bryan Tedesco voted against the freeze, citing concerns about the city’s being short-handed if someone leaves or gets sick.

Rich said a state commission that oversees Campbell’s finances because it is in fiscal emergency has told the city it should have a hiring freeze.

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