Alameda County and its Deputy Sheriff’s Association (DSA) have reached a new six-year contract. According to news reports, the DSA made significant concessions regarding wages, and medical and pension benefits. For example, the contract provides for no salary increases over the first three years, and then allows for increases to bring pay in line with other similarly sized law enforcement agencies during the final three years.
Most significant, the contract calls for new deputies to receive a 2-percent-at-50 pension instead of the current 3-percent-at-50 pension arrangement. However, new deputies may opt for a 3-perecnt-at-55 formula which requires an additional employee contribution of 5 percent of salary annually for five years.
The DSA’s agreement to drop 3 @ 50 for new hires may be a harbinger of things to come. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy thing for the DSA to agree to. For those public safety employees without the 3 @ 50 formula, getting it has been priority number one for many years. However, it’s no secret that 3 @ 50 is hugely expensive and perhaps even “unsustainable” in the opinion of many experts. So what’s the solution? Well, dropping 3@ 50 for new hires is certainly one solution. Here, the contract allows employees to buy into a slightly better 3 @ 55 formula which probably made it an slightly easier sell. With public safety accounting for 50-60% on average of a city’s or county’s budget, I expect what happened in Alameda to be repeated elsewhere throughout the state.