Alameda firefighters’ union boss says mayor, councilmember broke labor laws

Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer and Councilmember
Tony Daysog were accused by the firefighters’ union
president Tuesday night of breaking labor laws. 

ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL | What appeared to be a simple administrative staff request to appropriate $3 million to further seed a city employee pension trust fund negotiated last April has reignited the perennial debate over unfunded liabilities on the Island.

Mayor Trish Spencer and Councilmember Tony Daysog voted against a previously set aside, but unappropriated $3 million, to fund city employee retirement benefits. The item passed, 3-2, but led to accusations by the Alameda firefighters’ union president that each violated the law. An inquiry into whether laws were broken was requested Wednesday by Daysog.

“It’s disappointing and sickening that we have two public officials who break their word on labor contracts,” Alameda firefighters union boss, Jeff Del Bono, told the East Bay Citizen. “We negotiated a contract in good faith and these two derelicts decided to make a political statement.” He added, if the council had rejected the appropriation negotiated by the city and bargaining units, serious legal ramifications would have followed.

Del Bono maintains both public officials committed unfair labor practices by voting against funding the account created to help the city pay down its long-term unfunded debt. In the contract negotiated earlier this year, the city agreed to seed the trust fund with $5 million by January 2016. On Tuesday, the City Council was asked to appropriate $3 million on top of $2 million previously deposited into the account, said Elena Adair, the city’s finance director. The account is due to grow to $7 million by 2021, said Del Bono, which includes additional contributions by the city. Del Bono fears future city appropriations to the fund could again be in stymied by the council.

The agenda item appeared to be purely administrative until it was pulled from the consent calendar by Spencer. “I think long-term it does jeopardize the fiscal health of the city,” said Spencer. Later, she called for a “serious solution and not a partial solution” to the city’s unfunded debt.

Councilmember Jim Oddie, who supported the trust fund last April, said voting no violates the terms of the agreement negotiated in good faith. “This is a contract that we signed with our bargaining units and that we have to honor.”

Daysog, similar to his critique last spring, said the trust fund is undercapitalized. He also questioned whether it will be solvent by 2034. “I know the counter argument is, well, some point in time we will fix it. You just never know,” said Daysog. Unforeseen situations in the future may make it difficult for future councils to close the gap, he added.

Meanwhile, Daysog is taking serious Del Bono’s accusation, first lodged on Twitter, that he broke the law. On Wednesday, Daysog formally asked the city attorney for an inquiry into whether he violated any laws Tuesday night. “I think it’s important for the public to know if any such thing occurred last night. I don’t think any such thing occurred—but let’s gather the information,” Daysog said in a statement Wednesday. He also stressed Del Bono has a right to opinion.

“What law I broke I am not sure, but I think we must look into this,” Daysog wrote to the city attorney. “I know I did not purposefully mean to break any law, and am pretty sure I did no such thing, but still this is a serious allegation.”

34 thoughts on “Alameda firefighters’ union boss says mayor, councilmember broke labor laws

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  26. By MW:

    In my above post I forgot to mention that it is going to get extremely interesting when the general public no longer, and just like sheep, even at least slightly accepts anymore the ridiculously low inflation numbers the federal government puts out, AND INCLUDING FOR CALCULATING ADJUSTMENTS TO SOCIAL SECURITY PAYMENTS.

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  27. By MW:

    1. In regard to the post of 10:32, at the California State Bar's website, and which is “calsb.org,” the only lawyer in the city of Alameda named “Spencer” I could find was a “Patricia Spencer,” and who evidently got her undergraduate degree from UC Berserkekely, a so called educational institution that is among the “very best” in the entire country at manufacturing phonies, con men, scam artists, and parasites who pretend to be great liberals and wonderful humanitarians, and who “know” they are so extremely “superior” and “wonderful,” and similar to Harvard's and MIT's Jonathan Gruber, that therefore any lies, garbage, and frauds perpetrated by them automatically become truth, fact, and wonderful simply because they said it and/or did it.

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    2. However Trish Spencer is a “liberal,” or at least pretends to be one. So therefore even if she did engage in lies and fraud and/or refused to keep her word, it is no big deal, since “liberal” politicians are automatically wonderful people.

    3. And finally, and not just related to the city of Alameda, the extreme underfunding of pensions is a huge timebomb that will eventually cause many times more damage and turmoil to the US than even if we had one thousand 9-11 type incidents, and hitting every major city, and even slightly midsize city, in the entire country virtually simultaneously. In other words, just wait until people who have been working for decades and are ready to collect their pensions find out that actually there is little or nothing there.

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  30. I'm pretty sure he is wrong which makes this a pretty stupid news article. Reporting every time Jeff says something stupid that amounts to he doesn't like Trish Spencer is not a worthwhile use of your time.

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  31. Alameda is poised to join the parade of California cities bankrupted by Public Safety Union Obligations. Good for Tony for being aware of this! Bad Jim Oddie = reality denier

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