Monterey Park Police Officers’ Association backs former chief’s big time-off cash payout

(via reporter Thomas Himes)

The Monterey Park Police Officers’ Association on Wednesday came out in support of a former police chief who received $576,000 in pay and benefits during his last nine months of work for the city.

In a report published last week, it was revealed that former police chief Jones Moy collected more than half-a-million in pay and benefits in 2009. A significant portion of that money, $372,000 stems from unused time-off Moy cashed out before leaving. It was also revealed earlier this week that Moy and eight other top city officials are eligible to receive three months off a year they can cash out at 100% of their highest pay.

The President of the Monterey Park Police Officers’ Association, Ruben Semerena called the report a “politically motivated act intended to turn the citizens against those who strive to make the community a safe and better place for everyone…”

Semerena came to that conclusion by alleging Moy’s payout was publicly posted earlier this year on the city’s website. City officials said Moy’s compensation was not posted online. Semerena has not responded to requests for further explanation of claims made in his letter.

Dear Editor,

September 29, 2010

Dear Editor,

I am writing in my capacity as the President of the Monterey Park Police Officers Association in response to last week’s article and op-ed piece about retired MPPD Police Chief Jones Moy.

As I read the article I was somewhat concerned about the article’s subtext, which, at least as I perceived it is Chief Moy acted unethically when he was paid for his unused leave time. First, I have known Chief Moy for a number of years, and throughout our professional relationship I can attest to both his dedication to the Citizens of Monterey Park and his commitment to upholding the highest ethical standards of conduct expected of a law enforcement officer.

When I read the op-ed piece in which the writer says Chief Moy did nothing “below board” I was somewhat relieved, but the piece contains the accusation Chief Moy and other Monterey Park Police Officers serve for no other reason except to enrich themselves at the expense of the taxpayers. Let me assure you, nothing could be further from the truth.

When comparing the pay and benefits the Police Officers of Monterey Park earn to surrounding agencies (do not even bother comparing them to the benefits earned by Police Officers in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica or Torrance) you will note the City’s benefits are not as generous. As an example, the retirement for MPPD Officers has a lower benefit than all but one other municipality in Los Angeles County that participates in CalPERS.

Furthermore, in both the article and op-ed piece there is a reference to the City’s budget deficit and the layoffs in which the City recently engaged to balance the budget. What was omitted are the following facts: the City Council has frozen or eliminated ten sworn police officer positions, the sworn officers comprising the membership of the Police Officers Association voluntarily took a five percent pay cut to help balance the budget, and the membership agreed to begin the process for Association members to contribute to their retirement.

Finally, another thing not explained in your article is why Chief Moy’s final compensation is suddenly an issue since he received his final pay check with all of the payouts last year, and the information about Chief Moy’s salary and payouts was posted publicly on the City’s website early this year. Therefore, I am left to conclude the reason for excoriating and attempting to humiliate someone who dedicated his entire adult life to the citizens of Monterey Park is a politically motivated act intended to turn the citizens against those who strive to make the community a safe and better place for everyone while couching their true motives behind the veil of fiscal responsibility.

I understand everyone in the United States is suffering during these difficult economic times, but I urge you and your readers to remember it is the Police Officers I represent who are on the streets every day and night working to ensure your safety and make the community a better place for everyone.


Ruben Semerena, President

Monterey Park Police Officers Association

Claims of liar may have been exaggerated at Glendora council meeting

Wendell Phillips, the attorney representing the Glendora municipal employees association, took a beating at the council meeting Tuesday night.

In the process of making a unanimous vote to impose contract concessions on the association, many council members questioned Phillips handling of the truth.

Watch for yourself toward the end of the council meeting video.

But Phillips may not have been fibbing about the motivation behind concessions made by the police officers association and police managers association last year.

Phillips has said that the POA and the PMA took the bullet for the employees association last year by making concessions with the understanding that the employees association would not have to.

At time time, Councilman Doug Tessitor called those claims “B.S.”

Well… I spoke with Police Officers Association President Michael Henderson and PMA President Sgt. Scott Strong and both confirmed Phillips’ claims to be true.

Henderson said that part of the motivation for agreeing to defer their salary increases as well as making other concessions was to avoid the employees association being hit. Henderson said they made their motivation clear to the city during negotiations.

After agreeing to those concessions, Henderson said they later learned the city wanted a 3 percent concession across the board.

Strong echoed those remarks, saying they made clear that they were making the concessions with the understanding the GMEA would not be asked to make the same concessions. Those negotiations were with City Manager Chris Jeffers, Finance Director Josh Betta and then deputy city manager Culver Heaton, Strong said.

Considering the council’s remarks from last night, Strong said there must have been some “misunderstanding.”

Councilman Doug Tessitor called me today and apologized for his remarks. He said he was wrong on that particular issue and planned to clarify that at the next council meeting.

“That was an error on my part,” Tessitor said. “I intend to make a public announcement at the next council meeting that I was in error and apologize for making that statement.”

Jeffers, in remarks to this newspaper, and in city staff reports regarding the negotiations, an argument made in favor of approving the city’s recommended concessions was that the employees association had not made concessions in the previous year.


The one thing that seems to be clear is, at least for this one, Phillips may have been telling the truth.

More on this story online tomorrow and in tomorrow’s newspaper.

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