Councilman, Mayor Accused of Breaking Law

Union boss calls Mayor Spencer, Councilman Daysog ‘derelicts’

On April 29 the city inked a memorandum of understanding to create an “Other Post-Employment Benefit” (OPEB) trust fund that would set aside and accumulate funds to cover payment of these benefits for sworn employees in the fire and police departments who pay into the trust and retire after Jan. 1, 2019. 

These “other” benefits include payments to retired employees that are not part of any pension. In essence they are benefits that the city is “morally” obligated to pay. They include items like life insurance and healthcare premiums, as well as any deferred-compensation arrangements. 

At its Tuesday, Dec. 15, meeting the City Council voted to appropriate an additional $3 million into this trust fund — the larger part of the $5 million the city agreed to set aside last April. The city promised its firefighters and police officers to have $5 million in the fund by January 2016 and an additional $2 million over the next five years. The city has kept its January 2016 promise with the Dec. 15 vote. 

The vote to add the $3 million to the fund was 3-2, with Mayor Trish Spencer and Councilman Tony Daysog voting “no.” The vote led Alameda Firefighters IAFF Local 689 president Jeff Del Bono to send out a Tweet alleging that Spencer and Daysog broke the law. 

Del Bono claimed that the pair committed “unfair labor practices.” In making his accusation the union president cited the contract negotiated with the city last April in which the city agreed to seed the trust fund with $5 million by January 2016. In an interview with East Bay Citizen reporter Steve Tavares, Del Bono called the Mayor and City Councilman “derelicts” for voting against bringing the trust fund up to the negotiated amount. 

This is not the first time Del Bono has traded barbs with Spencer. Last April Spencer was quoted as saying that Local 689 got favorable contracts because then-City Manager John Russo wanted to “take care of the firefighters” before he departed for the Southland. 

Del Bono accused Spencer of attempting to convince Vice-Mayor Frank Matarrese to vote with her against the firefighters’ contract. Matarrese voted for the contract. 

Daysog has taken Del Bono’s allegation that he “broke the law” seriously. So seriously, in fact, that he filed a formal request with City Attorney Janet Kern that she conduct an inquiry into whether he violated any laws.

“What law I broke I am not sure, but I think we must look into this,” Daysog stated in his letter to Kern. “This is a serious allegation. I don’t think any such thing occurred.”

Contact Dennis Evanosky at editor@alamedasun.com.