LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The L.A. City Council has come under questioning amid reports it approved the spending of millions in taxpayer dollars to pay the salaries of nine LAPD officers working full-time for the union that represents them.
Southern California public radio station KPCC first reported taxpayers are paying a $750,000 bill every year for the officers, who work at the Los Angeles Police Protective League.
KCAL9’s Dave Lopez reports the union was initially tasked with reimbursing the city for the salaries, but that changed three years ago when the contract was renegotiated and the City Council voted to waive the fee.
City Councilman Bernard Parks urged a “no” vote on the change, made on July 1, 2011.
“It was in my judgement that it was one of those issues that should never have been given back,” Parks said.
Nevertheless, the City Council voted to approve the provision by 11-1.
Mayor Eric Garcetti, a city councilman at the time, was among those who voted “yes”.
He defended his vote in a written statement to KCAL9 on Tuesday.
“This was one part of a complex and mulch-faceted negotiation, that at the end of the day resulted in a contract where the sum of its parts saved many millions of dollars and contained significant pension reforms,” Garcetti stated.
L.A City Councilman Paul Koretz said echoed his defense.
“Overall it was a contract that was very favorable to the city,” Koretz said.
L.A. City Councilman Mitch Englander says the controversial contract now raises a bigger question, however.
“That could very well be the case,” he said in regards to Garcetti’s comments.
“I would like to see that information and will ask those questions,” he continued, noting, “The bigger comes in: how many more of these [contracts] are like that?”
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Protective League would only say in a written statement that the union is in “full compliance with terms of the agreement”. The spokesperson declined to comment further.
The next chance to contest the provision is in July, when the currant contract expires.