Friday, June 24, 2011

Oakland Closes in on Deals with Unions

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Jun 24, 2011 at 6:21 PM

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and the city council appear to be closing in on landmark deals with the city’s public-employee unions. A budget proposal made public today by four councilwomen suggests that a deal is imminent and that it would save the city about $23.6 million in the 2011-12 fiscal year and about $30.8 million in 2012-13. The budget proposal offers the most up-to-date estimate of concessions that councilmembers hope to receive, and it provides the first set of specific numbers since Quan said two months ago that she hoped to obtain $28.7 million in annual savings from union negotiations.

Schaaf
  • Schaaf
The budget proposal was made by Councilwomen Rebecca Kaplan, Pat Kernighan, Nancy Nadel, and Libby Schaaf. It assumes that unions will agree to $12.2 million in concessions next year on top of $11.38 million that Quan had proposed to achieve through unpaid leave in her “all-cuts” budget Scenario A, Schaaf said. The new proposal assumes that unions will agree to $19.4 million in concessions in the 2012-13 fiscal year, again, in addition to the $11.38 million that Quan had proposed to achieve through unpaid leave in her “all-cuts” budget.

The new proposal also assumes that the city will sell the shuttered Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center to Oakland’s redevelopment agency for $28.3 million. Schaaf said her proposal would use $15 million from that sale in the 2011-12 fiscal year, and $5 million in the following year. The union concessions and the Kaiser sale would allow the city to avoid devastating cuts to libraries, arts funding, and tree maintenance.

For the council to pass this new proposal it will need five votes, meaning that at least one other councilmember will have to support it. Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente said earlier today that he believes the Oakland police union should make an additional $2.3 million in concessions, and he has previously expressed opposition to the proposed structure of the Kaiser sale, as has council President Larry Reid.

In fact, in a budget proposal made today, Reid and Councilwomen Desley Brooks and Jane Brunner said they are looking for a way to restructure the Kaiser sale in order to use redevelopment funds that are not supposed to be spent on revitalization projects in East Oakland.

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