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By Brian Hews
Only one year ago, the Commerce City Council approved a three-year Memorandum of Understanding, better known as employment agreement, with the City’s union.
The MOU covered July 2015 to July 2018.
Despite that, the Commerce City Council, at tonight’s regular meeting, is taking the highly unusual step of altering the MOU in the union’s favor, and also theirs.
The new agreement will drastically alter the MOU, and, as one observer told Hews Media Group, “is a blatant attempt to buy the votes of union employees for the March 2017 election.”
Mayor Ivan Altamirano, Mayor Pro Tem Tina Baca Del Rio, and Councilwoman Lelia Leon, who sources told Hews Media initiated the altering of the MOU, are all up for re-election in March 2017.
HMG has also learned that the Council included a resolution with the MOU that will roll back the designated years of service to receive retirement benefits.
The move is designed to place the Mayor, Mayor pro tem and Councilwoman in the retirement bracket in the event that one or all three do not win reelection.
One high level source at the City told HMG, “the altering of the MOU will cost the City millions, this is crazy.”
Item 5 on the council agenda tonight is entitled, “Letter of agreement with the Commerce City Employees Association and providing for a fringe benefits and related compensation for unrepresented confidential and executive management employees and City Council.”
The description read, “the City Council will consider authorizing revisions to city personnel policies and changes to the fringe benefits package for employees, non-union employees and for the City Council.
In the past, employees could only work for the City for five years and retire. That generous package was changed to 15 years after an actuarial study.
Now Altamirano, Del Rio and Leon want to change the policy to “anyone who worked or was elected to City Council prior to July 2011.
The move will place many Commerce employees into the retirement bracket.
With the MOU manuever, Altamirano and Baca Del Rio are attempting to circumvent the violations and fines that the Fair Political Practices Commission levied earlier this year.
HMG-CN exclusively revealed in investigative articles the Altamirano and Baca Del Rio violations, which resulted in the massive FPPC fines.
Baca Del Rio’s fines were the highest ever levied by the FPPC in California history.
Calls into city officials went unreturned.
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