Council Recap: Pasadena Police to Offer Lateral Hire Incentive Bonuses

Pasadena Police has been utilizing lateral hire incentive bonuses since May 2015 in order to help the department remain competitive within the labor market. – Photo by Terry Miller / Beacon Media News

City will re-evaluate sewer system after 10 years

By Gus Herrera

The Pasadena City Council returned from their summer hiatus and immediately got right back to work, approving a consent calendar that will re-evaluate the city’s sewer system and help the police department maintain efficient staffing levels.

The city’s sewer collection system, which consists of 311 miles of pipelines, three pump stations, and over 7,400 manholes has not been updated in 10 years, according to city staff’s report.

In order to evaluate the adequacy of the current structure and identify any future projects necessary to improve the system, council approved a $500,000 contract with the engineering consulting firm Dudek.

Although Dudek has no previous experience with the city, the firm operates an office in Pasadena and has previously contracted with South Pasadena to carry out similar work.

According to city staff, the full scope of services will include: field investigations, data collection, creation of a comprehensive sewer model, evaluation of the city’s sewer maintenance program and updates to bring the system in compliance with any new state requirements.

The city will then use all data and recommendations in order to shape the development of future projects within the capital improvement program.

Council also approved an item that will help the police department be more competitive in maintaining staffing levels, specifically for sworn officers and the critical position of police dispatcher.

Through an agreement with the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) and the Pasadena Police Officers Association (PPOA), the city will now be providing incentive bonuses for any qualified personnel who transfer from other law enforcement agencies.

According to staff’s report, LIUNA and the PPOA represent over 250 positions within the Pasadena Police Department (155 sworn officers and 28 civilian dispatchers).

The police department cites that the role of dispatcher has typically “been a difficult position to fill and retain with experienced personnel” and the dispatch center is “currently operating with an inordinately high vacancy rate of nearly 30 percent.”

In order to compensate, the department has been forced to utilize mandatory overtime shifts, resulting in “staff fatigue” – not a good quality for a position that is vital in connecting distressed citizens with emergency responders.

Lateral dispatch hires from other agencies will receive a $3,000 bonus, to be distributed in three installments throughout an 18-month probationary period.

The Pasadena Police Department has seen previous success in this strategy – since May 2015, lateral hire incentive bonuses have been utilized to help fill the sworn officer position, a decision which has been “instrumental in allowing the department to quickly fill patrol vacancies with experienced law enforcement personnel.”

As part of council’s recent action, the department will now increase the bonus for sworn officers who transfer by $500, bringing the total to $8,000 – to be distributed over a 12-month probationary period.

The city is optimistic that this increase will ensure the police department remains competitive within the labor market.

The fiscal impact from this act is expected to be between $10,000 and $20,000 annually, depending on number of lateral hires. According to staff’s report, these funds are readily available within the police department’s FY18 operating budget.

August 22, 2017

About Author

Gus Gus Herrera was born in Los Angeles and raised in Pasadena. He attended Flintridge Prep in La Canada for high school and then spent four years on the East Coast at Boston University where he graduated with a bachelor's in philosophy. He first began covering the City of Pasadena for the Pasadena Independent in February 2016.

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