Friday, July 10, 2015

Once controversial contract with sheriff's department becomes routine budget item

Just three years ago the chief controversy in Yorba Linda was the switch from the Brea Police Department to the Orange County Sheriff's Department for law enforcement services, with the debate generating widespread public input and embroiling two City Council election cycles.

Now, however, a contract amendment establishing service levels and costs for the fiscal year that began July 1 has been handled as a routine adoption on the council's “consent calendar,” which grouped seven separate items for a single vote on a June meeting agenda.

Both costs and service levels will increase in the amendment running through June 30, 2016, for an overall 4.5 percent or $405,719 boost to $9,426,452 that funds current services with an added mounted unit to assist with various events and an investigator to help with case loads.

The new positions will be filled by retired personnel with reserve status and paid for hours worked with no overhead, costing less than full-time positions and perhaps reducing overtime earned by regular employees, according to a report from Finance Director Dave Christian.

Most of the cost increase, 3.2 percent or $284,729, is due to salary boosts granted after negotiations with the union representing deputies. The city hired the department in July 2012 under an agreement that runs through June 2018. Actual services began in January 2013.

Some interesting aspects of the 12-page amendment, the sixth to be added to the original document:

--Serving the city are 39 full-time, two half-time and small percentages of 13.5 regional and shared staff officers. The full-timers include 21 deputies in patrol services and three on motorcycles for traffic services.

--Investigation services include three investigators, an investigative assistant and a half-time sergeant, while the community support unit includes a community service deputy, a school resource officer and a crime prevention specialist.

--Management and supervision include a lieutenant (police services chief), four patrol sergeants and a half-time administrative sergeant. Other full-time positions include an office specialist and two non-sworn community services officers for parking and traffic enforcement.

--The city will pay full costs for the acquisition, installation and maintenance of patrol video systems that are or will be mounted in patrol vehicles assigned to the city and contribute to a fund for replacements and upgrades to the systems.

--The increase in salaries is a 7.94 jump over the previous year, while overtime is expected to increase 1.23 percent to $468,057. Cost for benefits, including retirement, health, unemployment, workers' compensation and Medicare will increase 0.07 percent to $3,440,107.

--Cost to field each of the 21 deputies assigned to patrol services, including salary, benefits and overhead, is $222,938, and cost to field each of the three deputies assigned to motorcycles is $228,121.