By BRETT WILKISON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Sonoma County government’s largest group of rank-and-file public safety workers narrowly approved a proposed labor contract Monday, voting 143 to 117 in favor of the tentative agreement.
The deal covers the 470-member Sonoma County Law Enforcement Association, representing correctional deputies and counselors, probation officers, park rangers, emergency dispatchers, fire inspectors and some investigative posts.
It does not include deputy sheriffs or managers.
It offers some short-term salary savings for taxpayers while seeking to curb rising employee pension costs. In exchange, employees are set to receive salary boosts, starting in late 2014 and extending through late 2015, totaling 3 percent.
The county also is set to contribute more to employee health care costs through a new set of payments into health reimbursement accounts.
The deal, which extends to December 2015, is the first reached with rank-and-file public safety workers under the county’s recent bid to curb pension costs and reduce total employee compensation.
Projected taxpayer savings from the agreement have not been disclosed because county officials said they did not want to interfere with the group’s vote. Generally, the county has sought a permanent 3 percent reduction in compensation from rank-and-file workers.
County personnel officials said they would make a summary of the deal available this week in advance of the Board of Supervisors ratification vote Tuesday.
Kimber Williams, president of the Sonoma County Law Enforcement Association, announced the voting results Tuesday in an email to members and the county. The two sides began negotiation in July and the group’s previous contract expired in November.
Williams did not respond to calls requesting comment Tuesday.