Letter From Carol McCarthy

The City wanted to take this opportunity to respond to the following statement contained in the “Santa Clara Weekly” for the week of March 9, 2011, in a column by the publisher. The column erroneously stated that the City Council “voted 4-to-2 to give the police officers’ union a new contract that included a 50% increase in pension contributions…” While the Council did vote to approve a new labor contract between the City and the Santa Clara Police Officers Association (POA) in order to replace their expiring contract, the actual increase in the City’s contribution to the CalPERS pension system is 1.102% (about 1 percent).

The column also stated the police officers average $150,000 salary per year. The starting annual salary for a police officer is $101,604. An officer with five years experience earns $123,456. With even greater longevity, the maximum salary for a police officer is currently $129,648. The column does not mention that police officers pay toward their own retirement and healthcare costs out of these salaries.

Under the new contract with the POA, the POA experienced a decrease in their take-home-pay. The POA did not receive a salary increase, and they agreed to take 96 unpaid furlough hours per year to help the City balance its budget.

The salary information and the labor contract are available on the City’s website for the POA and for all of the City bargaining units. Thank you for allowing us to correct this information.