The Grass Valley City Council, Tuesday night, imposed a contract on the Grass Valley Police department cutting one Captain’s position after reaching an impasse in negotiations that have been going on for months. Mayor Jan Arbuckle a former deputy sheriff in Sacramento County says this was the hardest decision she has ever made.
“My heart wants to give them whatever they want. I know how hard their job is. But I have to take that and put it aside. When I got elected, I didn’t get elected as a cop. I got elected to represent all the people, all of the citizens of Grass Valley. This is absolutely the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life.”
Sgt Steve Johnson says the department made an offer to the city that would have saved the city money over the next 3 years but Mayor Arbuckle said no such offer was received.
“We never saw an offer; we saw a letter that said ‘Unit 6 would like to reopen their contract.’ But because of all the labor laws and negotiations rules, we, as a city, cannot comment on any personnel actions or issues.”
Arbuckle says the city has cut everywhere they could due to dwindling revenues in this economy.
“We have eliminated the Human Resources Director position. We no longer have a finance director; we no longer have a parks and recs department. So there is nowhere else to cut except to eliminate one of the captains over there. As Steve Johnson said, they’ve gone from 31 down to 21 officers, there’s really no need for two Captains to manage 21 officers.”
Negotiations with the full department begin in late January. Also at last night’s council meeting, the council decided to give 90 days for negotiations with the Airport Planning commission to resolve issues related to the plan that limits density and use of property within the city’s sphere of influence around the Loma Rica airport. After 90 days if a compromise is not reached the city may choose to move forward with a law suit to overturn the plan.