SAN GABRIEL - In the midst of a new pay contract, the police union for the San Gabriel Police Department has brought pressure against the city by filing a lawsuit alleging illegal use of city pension funds.
At a press conference held Friday, Fabian Valdez, president of the San Gabriel Police Officers Association, said the union is suing the city and its officials for"stealing more than $5.7 million from the city employees' retirement fund."
San Gabriel city officials quickly responded that the lawsuit came"less than 48 hours" after the city declared it had reached an impasse in negotiations with three of the city's four bargaining units.The city's press release stated the city is requesting that all employees begin
to make their own contributions to their pension plan.
Police union officials said that the city is asking officers to take a 9 percent pay cut in the new proposed agreement.Valdez said the police officers have not received a pay raise in four years. He also said the San Gabriel police officers are among the lowest paid in the area.City officials responded by stating that police officers receive an"individual median income"$97,961 annual - more than the average household in the city.
"Our data shows that while police employees have slightly lower salaries that the median among survey cities, the combination of benefits and retirement place them well within the local market for total compensation,"police union officials responded at a press conference by stating police officer salaries include overtime because of the large number of unfilled vacant positions.
Police Attorney Dieter Dammeier said they will file a complaint with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office regarding their allegations of misuse or retirement funds.They claimed that retirement funds have been used to balance the city general fund and pay perks for elected officials.
The city issued a two-page press release at the end of which they stated that they are reviewing the lawsuit and will be"preparing a formal response to the allegations made in the document. Beyond that, the city has no further comment
at this time."
Police union officials distributed a copy of the lawsuit and said it had been filed in Pasadena Superior Court.