A tentative contract agreement would postpone raises to police officers now in return for larger raises later. Kevin N. Hume/
S.F. Examiner

A tentative contract agreement would postpone raises to police officers now in return for larger raises later. Kevin N. Hume/ S.F. Examiner

Supes to debate police union contract proposal

The Board of Supervisors will soon consider a controversial proposal that would save San Francisco millions during the COVID crisis, but later give officers pay raises without any compromises on police reform.

The tentative contract agreement with the San Francisco Police Officers Association would award officers a 6 percent raise down the line in exchange for delaying pay hikes scheduled in the near term.

The board is facing pressure from advocates to reject the agreement, because it does not limit the negotiating power that the police union has used to hold up reform policies at the Police Commission.

But the supervisors are in a tough position, because killing the proposal would likely force The City to dish out millions in raises in the short term that would otherwise be delayed under the agreement.

Mayor London Breed has warned that unions could face layoffs if raises are not delayed. The SFPOA reached the agreement with the Department of Human Resources in late July to avoid as many as 300 layoffs.

The proposal would save San Francisco some $13 million between this fiscal year and the next, but cost The City an additional $22 million in fiscal year 2022-23, according to a Controller’s Office analysis of the contract.

Overall, the proposal would cost an extra $9 million over the three-year period.

The proposal is scheduled to be discussed at the Board of Supervisors Government Audit and Oversight Committee Thursday.

Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Shamann Walton have each expressed concerns about the contract not including any reform compromises.

“There is no way in God’s Earth that I am going to trade a contract extension for a wage concession without a meeting of the minds on police reform,” Peskin previously said. “I am happy to trade money for public safety and community trust.”

Walton also told the San Francisco Examiner in August that he would not be supporting pay increases for officers.

Peskin sits on the Government Audit and Oversight Committee alongside supervisors Matt Haney and Gordon Mar, the committee chair.

Haney said he had not made a decision on the proposal Wednesday.

“I’m reviewing all the materials and options today and having some meetings about it,” Haney said.

Mar said he is looking forward to a “robust discussion” on the contract Thursday.

“I’m not making a decision beforehand on this,” Mar said.

Mar said the discussion would be held in public despite the item appearing in the closed-session section of the agenda.

The contract is being opposed by the Bar Association of San Francisco and advocates from the group Defund SFPD Now, who have regularly aired their concerns at Board of Supervisors meetings.

Stuart Plunkett, president of the Bar Association of San Francisco, sent an Oct. 22 letter to the supervisors recommending a “slate of structural reforms to The City’s collective bargaining process with SFPOA.”

“Reforms to collective bargaining with SFPOA are long overdue,” Plunkett wrote. “The City must prioritize transparency, timeliness and the advancement of substantive police reforms.”

Police reform advocate John Crew, a retired ACLU attorney, said the contract is a test of whether the supervisors are serious about reform and “willing to actually have their actions match their words.”

“You cannot approve this deal, given not only the contents but the way it’s been handled, and say with a straight face that police reform is a priority,” Crew said.

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

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