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With both unions locked in contract negotiations with the Mayor’s Office, the police officers union over the weekend lashed out at firefighters for airing the details of the mayor’s contract proposals from behind closed doors.

On Friday, City Fire Fighters Local 145 fired off a press release with this headline: “Mayor Sanders Proposes Worst Public Safety Retirement System in County San Diego.”

The release from union chief Ron Saathoff said the initial contract offer made by Mayor Jerry Sanders to both police officers and firefighters “contains significant changes in retirement benefits that would make San Diego’s public safety retirement system the worst in the County.”

While other plans base employee pensions on an employee’s highest year of salary, Sanders has proposed new public safety employees instead be an average of the employee’s highest three years, according to the release. The release also states that Sanders wants to cap pensions at a maximum of 75 percent of pay, while other employees around the county face a 90 percent cap at worst and no cap at best.

“The math is pretty simple,” Saathoff says in the release. “The proposal offered by the Mayor’s office further degrades the compensation of the City’s public safety employees.”

It turns out the police officers didn’t like being dragged into the squabble.

Their release, sent out Saturday, chastised the firefighters union for tying in the police officers and for discussing contents of its meetings with the press. The release begins like this:

Despite repeated requests to leave us out, San Diego Firefighters Local 145 seems intent on trying to draw the SDPOA and its membership into their battle with Mayor Sanders. Local 145’s press release … is an inexcusable betrayal of the negotiation ground rules. Local 145 President Ron Saathoff’s feeble attempt to use our members and the issue of police officer attrition to promote his agenda is self-serving and may cause irreparable damage in our attempt to bring a contract to our membership.

It continues:

Local 145 Labor Relations representative Mike McGhee made the SDPOA aware of their plans of a Thursday, February 22nd press release. SDPOA President Bill Nemec immediately replied to the e-mail and requested Local 145 remove any reference to Police Officers or the SDPOA from the release. President Nemec followed up on this request and phoned Mr. McGhee. Mr. McGhee assured President Nemec that the reference to Police would be removed, but that promise was not honored.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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