The San Jose Police Department is hiring, but a new agreement reached Friday means those new employees won't have the same pension benefits as the officers currently on the force.
City and police union negotiators reached a deal on a second-tier pension system required when voters approved Measure B last year.
The decision doesn't affect officers already on duty, but the current crop of cadets in the police academy and all future hires will be put in this new system.
Union leaders said those officers will be able to collect a pension up to 65 percent of their salary at age 60 after 32 and 1/2 years on the force, compared to the current pension payout of 90 percent after 30 years.
"As far as I know, it's the worst pension plan being offered in the state of California," said Jim Unland, president of the San Jose Police Officers Association. "And as such we don't expect these officers that we hire in the next few years to stay very long. They'll go to other agencies."
Unland said the department has been hit hard by resignations, 19 this year, and about 150 more in the past two years.
Mayor Chuck Reed has said without Measure B, there would have been severe layoffs, weakening the department even more.
Reed says the savings from pension reform will help pay for future officers to replenish the force, but union leaders believe the reduced benefits will hurt the city down the line.
"For the next year, year and a half, things will seem like we're keeping our head above water, but by 2015 the dam will break and we'll see an exodus going on. And the city isn't prepared for it," Unland said.
The Police Officers Association is hoping the two-tier system will be wiped out by a lawsuit against Measure B.
KTVU spoke with Reed and he said he plans to offer bonuses and raises to keep officers here in San Jose.
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