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Escondido gives raises to city’s police, firefighters

ESCONDIDO – The Escondido City Council recently approved new labor agreements for the city’s rank-and-file police officers and firefighters, raising the salaries for both jobs salaries to the median range in the county.

The memoranda of understanding (MOU) between the city and its emergency services also included two-year extensions to the contracts of both jobs.

The council unanimously approved the agreements with minimal discussion.

“I want to highlight the personnel and leadership with fire and police… the demonstration and collaboration and working together and coming to agreements on something that’s so important to all of us in this city, and important to those departments in particular, and the men and women who serve in those departments – what they mean to us and hopefully what this will mean to them, now and in the future,” said Councilmember Mike Morasco.

The new agreement awards paramedics, firefighter/paramedics, fire engineers and fire captains a 4% raise. In Jan. 2022, the second year of the contract, they will be eligible for a raise of up to 2.5%, depending on the county’s median salary at that time.

Police officers and sergeants will be awarded a 5% raise this month, followed by an additional raise of up to 3% next year, depending on the county’s median salary at that time.

 The firefighters’ contract will cost $969,535 over the next two years, and the police contract will cost $1,738,530 over the next two years, according to the staff report.

The city will pay for a majority of the increased costs through a reserve fund it has established for employee salaries and benefits.

“It is anticipated that use of the CalPERS Section 115 Trust will be a major factor, along with other decisions regarding the General Fund, in covering the costs of this contract,” said the staff report.

The city projected an $8 million budget deficit for the city in FY 2021/2022 at last week’s council meeting, along with a projected $176 million structural budget deficit over the next 18 years.

The new contract agreements went into effect on Jan. 24.

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