Reserve officers get huge raise E-mail
Written by Mark Nichols   

In Costa Mesa, California the police are getting a well-deserved raise. Actually it’s just some of the police officers—the reserves. According to a recent article in The Los Angeles Times, a massive $6 an hour raise proposed for Costa Mesa's police reserve officers has quickly turned into a controversy.

At a recent city council meeting the public and council members argued fiercely over how the city has made huge cuts at the police department in the last two years.

In addition, the proposed raise for the reserves would bump their pay from $27.09 to $33 an hour. That would make them some of the highest paid workers in the county.

The issue here is simple say critics of the proposal—the city wants to pay reserves more so they can recruit more of them so they can save money on the benefits that officers get and reserves don’t.

The citizens who took to the microphone to make their voices heard at the council meeting were generally clueless with some taking both sides of the argument at the same time.

Resident Tamar Goldman said she was surprised that reserve officers get paid so little and suggested they were worth more.

Others agreed with that but also took the opportunity to criticize the downsizing of police department staff since 2010. Residents said if officers are going to put their lives on the line for residents, they are also worth the pension that goes with it.

That’s when things got a little heated right after a few people suggested that this was just a ploy to get cops on the cheap.

It's "a load of crap," Councilman Gary Monahan sneered into his microphone. "We're trying to add more reserve officers to add more to the street and cut down a little bit on overtime… Some of you say we're trying to dismantle the department by adding more reserves.” Contradictory if you ask me," fumed.

Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer was blunt. "The council will not hire new officers on the pension pay they have now."

"I will not hire somebody on a pension plan that is unsustainable," he said.

And there it is.

The city has been in negotiations with the police and fire department associations over creating a lower pension tier for new hires, but no agreement has been reached.

"We should not be skimping on anything that deals with keeping our residents safe, especially these days," Councilwoman Wendy Leece said.

But that’s just what they did. The City Council unanimously approved the raises for the reserves.

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