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Frequently Asked Questions: Negotiations with the Hermosa Beach Police Officers Association

Post Date:01/18/2020 3:00 PM

The City of Hermosa Beach places a high priority on protecting the safety of our community, and we value our police officers and all City employees. The City’s team has been negotiating with the police officers’ union, the Hermosa Beach Police Officers Association (HBPOA), since April 1 and has had 18 meetings with the HBPOA. Interim Chief Michael McCrary has joined the City, and he has confirmed to City leaders that the Police Department has sufficient personnel to protect public safety.

What has the City proposed to the HBPOA?

The City has listened closely to the HBPOA’s concerns and sought to address them in its proposals to the HBPOA while also balancing the need to be fiscally responsible and ensure adequate funding for the other vital services the City provides. On January 16, 2020, the City met again with the HBPOA and provided a final adjustment to the City’s last, best and final offer. 

The City proposed to increase police officers’ base pay by 19% over 3 years as follows:

  • 7% retroactive to July 1, 2019
  • 6% beginning July 1, 2020
  • 6% beginning July 1, 2021

The City’s proposal would provide the largest pay increase the City has offered the HBPOA in the last 25 years.

The City’s January 16, 2020 offer also would add officer retention bonuses of up to $7,500, and education incentives to pay for course fees, books and tuition at California State University rates.

In direct response to HBPOA’s priority focus during negotiations on increasing base pay, the January 16, 2020 offer took the value of certain other benefits – vacation accrual, shift differential and Field Training Officer and Watch Commander bonuses – that had been part of previous offers and added those to increase base pay from 17% to 19% over 3 years.

The City’s January 16, 2020 proposal offer has a value of approximately $2.3 million.

The value of the City’s offer does not include the City Manager’s current recruitment and retention bonuses of up to $40,000 for new recruits. More information regarding these bonuses is provided below.

How do the salaries in the City’s January 16, 2020 proposal compare to surrounding cities?

The City’s January 16, 2020 salary proposal would put the City of Hermosa Beach’s police officers’ total annual compensation at $124,544.86 in the first year of the proposal. The salary increase would be applied retroactively to July 1, 2019.

Beginning July 1, 2020, which is the start of the second year of the proposed contract, Hermosa Beach’s police officers’ total compensation would be $131,971, which would exceed Redondo Beach’s police officers’ current total compensation and be within 5% of Manhattan Beach’s police officers’ total annual compensation at that time. It would also exceed police officers’ total compensation in several other cities with which Hermosa Beach competes for new recruits and officers. To improve recruitment and retention, the City Manager has also initiated a separate sign-on bonus program that provides up to $30,000 to entry-level and pre-service recruits who join the HBPD and up to $40,000 to “laterals,” who are qualified officers from police or sheriff’s departments who join the HBPD. These bonuses are paid incrementally over 4 years to incentivize and help retain newly hired officers at the HBPD. Please see more information about the sign-on bonuses in another question cited below. 

Salary Comparison Charts

Police Officer salary survey as of July 1, 2020, including 7% salary increase in year one and 6% salary increase in year two.

Police Officer Survey (as of 7/1/2020)

Rank

Compensation Survey Cities

Total Annual Salary with Eligible Premiums

1

El Segundo

$148,044

2

Gardena

$141,517

3

Torrance

$141,012

4

Seal Beach

$138,845

5

Manhattan Beach

$138,010

6

Hermosa Beach

$131,971

7

Redondo Beach

$125,375

8

Laguna Beach

$121,224

9

Hawthorne

$117,678

10

Palos Verdes Estates

$116,590

11

Signal Hill

$108,625

12

South Pasadena

$95,745

 

Police Sergeant salary survey as of July 1, 2020, including 7% salary increase in year one and 6% salary increase in year two.

Police Sergeant Survey (as of 7/1/2020)

Rank

Compensation Survey Cities

Total Annual Salary with Eligible Premiums

1

El Segundo

$185,485

2

Manhattan Beach

$181,585

3

Seal Beach

$177,037

4

Gardena

$176,972

5

Hermosa Beach

$166,174

6

Torrance

$160,977

7

Redondo Beach

$159,859

8

Laguna Beach

$155,069

9

Hawthorne

$143,493

10

Palos Verdes Estates

$141,786

11

Signal Hill

$136,037

12

South Pasadena

$125,771

 

What has happened with this proposal?

The HBPOA rejected the City’s latest offer on January 16, 2020. The City asked the HBPOA negotiating team to present the proposed 19% salary increase to its members, and the negotiating team said its members were authorized to reject it.   

As a result of the HBPOA’s rejection of the City’s final modification of its last, best and final offer, the City notified the HBPOA on January 16, 2020 that the City and HBPOA have reached an impasse.

What happens next? 

At this point, there are formal processes to resolve these labor negotiations. The HBPOA can choose to follow the City’s procedures, under which the City would prepare a statement of issues and schedule a meeting of the City’s and the HBPOA’s negotiating teams with the City’s Employee Relations Officer, which is the City Manager or her designee. The matter would then go to the City Council for a public hearing and its decision on compensation.

Alternatively, the HBPOA can choose to use a process that the legislature enacted in the Meyer-Milias Brown Act (MMBA). The MMBA process provides for the assignment of a neutral fact finder to conduct a hearing and issue a recommendation to the City Council, which is made available to the public. The Council then would hold a public hearing and make the final determination on compensation.

Had the City previously modified its last, best and final offer?

Yes. On January 9, 2020, the City modified its last, best and final offer to reach agreement with the HBPOA. At that time, the City presented a market adjustment proposal to its last, best and final offer that was based on an update of the City of Hermosa Beach’s survey of police compensation in 12 cities, which included new compensation increases recently approved by 3 of the 12 cities. It would have raised police base salaries by 17% over 3 years.

The HBPOA also rejected the January 9, 2020 offer.  

What were the overall proposed contract iterations during these months of negotiations?

The City and HBPOA have been negotiating to reach an agreement with proposals for pay increases and other benefits over a new 3-year period. The HBPOA’s first proposal on April 25, 2019 sought 18% in pay raises over 3 years: 10% beginning July 1, 2019; 4% on July 1, 2020, and 4% on July 1, 2021 (10%-4%-4%)

The negotiations proceeded as described below, with each side proposing 3 years of pay increases. The City presented the final modification of the City’s last, best and final offer on January 16, 2020, and the HBPOA rejected it. Following is a table detailing the course of negotiations on salary alone. Other benefits – including proposals to raise vacation accrual rates, shift differential pay, Field Training Officer and Watch Commander pay – were included in earlier proposals but are not presented in this chart. 

Date

City’s Base Pay Increase Proposal for 3 Years

City’s Proposed Percentage Increase for Each of the 3 Years *

HBPOA’s Base Pay Increase Proposals for 3 Years

HBPOA’s Proposed Percentage Increase for Each of the 3 Years*

4-25-19

 

 

18%

10%-4%-4%

5-16-19

6%

2%-2%-2%

 

 

5-30-19

 

 

16%

8%-4%-4%

6-18-19

7.5%

2.5%-2.5%-2.5%

 

 

6-24-19

 

 

12%

6%-6%-0%

8-28-19

9%

3%-3%-3%

 

 

10-30-19

 

 

30%

10%-10%-10%

11-25-19

13%: Last, Best & Final Offer

5%-4%-4%

 

 

1-9-20

17%: Market adjustment to Last, Best & Final Offer

7%-5%-5%

26%

HBPOA provided no year-by-year breakdown

 

1-16-20

19%: Final modification of Last, Best & Final Offer (incentives rolled into base pay)

HBPOA rejected offer; impasse declared

7%-6%-6%

24%

 

 

HBPOA provided no year-by-year breakdown

1-16-20

 

 

21% (Offer made after impasse)

7%-7%-7%

 

*This column represents the pay raises spread over 3 years. The first percentage pay increase would have gone into effect July 1, 2019, the second percentage pay increase would have gone into effect July 1, 2020 and the third percentage pay increase would have gone into effect July 1, 2021.

What is the City doing to improve police recruiting and retention?

Law enforcement agencies around the country and across Southern California are facing recruitment and retention challenges. To address this challenge in Hermosa Beach, City Manager Suja Lowenthal has placed a priority on recruitment and retention of police officers. To ramp up support, she has joined HBPD’s recruitment effort and added Interim Police Chief Michael McCrary, the City’s Human Resources Department manager and a Human Resources Department analyst to provide further resources to enhance hiring activities in the HBPD.

To attract and retain police officers, the City Manager also recently initiated a sign-on bonus program that provides up to $30,000 to entry-level and pre-service recruits who join the HBPD. The program also provides up to $40,000 to “laterals,” qualified officers from police or sheriff’s departments who join the HBPD. The bonuses are also structured to encourage retention. They are paid over 4 years to incentivize new officers to stay at the HBPD, and the officers then qualify for a longevity bonus in their 5th year with the HBPD. The City’s sign-on bonus program is independent of its agreement with the HBPOA, so these bonuses are now in effect.

How does the City respond to HBPOA’s claims regarding having the Sheriff’s Department as Hermosa Beach’s local law enforcement?

The City’s proposals have not included any proposal for a substitute police force, such as the Sheriff’s Department.

How much of its budget does the City dedicate to public safety?

The City has allocated 41.2% of its 2019-20 budget to police. When combined with fire protection, the amount allocated for public safety rises to 57%. For more information, please see the City’s 2019-20 Budget, page 89.

Have HBPD officers received pay raises in previous years?

Yes. Since 2015, sergeants have received 19% in base pay raises and police officers have received 14% in base pay raises. Specifically, officers and sergeants received a 5% raise in the 2015-16 budget year and officers received another 9% raise over 3 years in the agreement for 2016-2019. Sergeants’ salaries were raised by 14% over 3 years in the 2016-2019 agreement.

What are Hermosa Beach Police officers paid?

Under the last agreement, police sergeants’ base pay ranges from $7,690-8,903 per month. Police officers’ base pay ranges from $6,101-7,062 per month. They also qualify for a pension; health, dental and life insurance; longevity pay of up to 20% of their base salary and educational incentives. Their benefits amount to an additional 76% of their compensation. Additional information is available here.

Is crime on the rise in Hermosa Beach?

No. The City’s crime statistics for the past 10 years show crime is down in almost every single category. The one exception is murder, which is the same as in 2009 -- there were none. The monthly statistics for 2019 show numerical increases in some categories of crime, but it should be noted that Hermosa Beach has a relatively low number of crimes, so even one or two additional crimes can cause a seemingly large percentage increase in a category of crime – while the actual number of crimes remains relatively low. For instance, an increase from 3 to 6 reports of criminal behavior would be recorded as a 100% increase in that category of crime.

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