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The Union-Tribune today:

S.D. projects 4% raise in police pay
Union to seek more as negotiations start

… “The mayor has publicly committed to bringing our salary and benefits to a competitive level,” mayoral adviser Lisa Briggs said last week while discussing police negotiations.

Sanders and the police union probably will have different starting points in mind, and red ink is a common theme in future city budgets. Despite an understanding that San Diego police are among the worst-paid in the region, both sides are anticipating strong arguments during the talks, expected to stretch into April.

Sanders, a former San Diego police chief, has said police should expect pay raises this year. His aides have projected the cost of 4 percent raises for the police and firefighters unions at $14 million.

And here’s the mayor, in a press release today:

Because of an unfortunate headline and a misleading series of paragraphs, readers of today’s newspaper article on the contract negotiations with the police officers union might be led to believe that I enter those meetings intent on offering police officers a 4% raise. This is not accurate; I have made no such judgment. I have also not made any judgment regarding the compensation of firefighters or deputy city attorneys, two other groups that will soon be at the negotiating table.

I have made it clear that I intend to increase the take home pay of police officers this year. I have offered no specifics for two reasons: 1) we are analyzing the effects of various compensation increases on our budget and pension system. I want city leaders, including myself, to be educated on and fully aware of the ramifications of any increase; and 2) it is my intention to negotiate with the police union in good faith — that means entering the negotiations with an open mind and no pre-determined outcomes.

Yep, sounds like the U-T‘s headline is screwy. That’s the second really bad headline in recent weeks. You might remember the eyebrow raising one.

I don’t, however, see the “misleading paragraphs” in the story that the mayor is upset about. Seems like if the mayor is going to call the newspaper’s reporter out on the paragraphs he wrote too, the mayor should be more specific.

He just says they’re misleading. But Sanders does get in a final unrelated shot in his press release:

Lastly, the article is also factually inaccurate in that the unfunded liability for the pension system and retiree healthcare is $2.5 billion, not $1 billion. This fact is reason enough to be judicious in any discussions regarding compensation.

SCOTT LEWIS

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