We've added some pie charts on the consequences of contracting out. We'll continue to update as more numbers come in!  last updated: January 2.

An Overview of Events in El Cerrito

On November 8th, at an El Cerrito public forum, El Cerrito Chief of Police Paul Keith presented only his full contract model.

On November 19th (see item 7B on the video HERE), at the El Cerrito City Council meeting, Paul Keith presented his final contract proposal, which only includes a full contract model, even though Keith had told our Board that he needed an extra month to evaluate all cases (full contract, hybrid, and individual services). He himself did not bring up anything other than a full contract model. The El Cerrito City Council members themselves questioned him about other models, before agreeing they would only be interested in considering a full contract model.

The current City Council members also expressed questions about whether it was the wish of the Kensington community to contract with El Cerrito. They themselves did not want to become embroiled in challenging a Kensington community matter (the Voting Rights Ordinance).

One City Council member also expressed concern that a 5 year contract didn’t give their officers enough job security and would hurt morale contrast this to the KPPCSD Board that left our dedicated KPD officers (many have been with the community for over 10 years) without a contract for months, no real moral support, and continue to have them bear over 2 years of having no idea if there would still be employment.

In authorizing the El Cerrito Chief of Police to respond to the KPPCSD Board with a “no thank you” letter, the El Cerrito Mayor Pro Tempro also asked Paul Keith to provide the outlines of his proposal so Kensington could have numbers, with a Council member displaying skepticism that the proposal was even a compelling deal compared to the costs of current Kensington services. Apparently Paul Keith chose not to follow that request in his reply to the KPPCSD.

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In a contract with El Cerrito, we would be PAYING MORE FOR LESS, and placing Kensington at Risk for skyrocketing costs and annexation.

Summary of the Proposal


The Offer: 
A beat – something the KPPCSD board explicitly promised we would NOT be.

  • 1 Lieutenant (Shared with El Cerrito), instead of a dedicated Chief of Police
  • 1 Detective (Shared with El Cerrito), instead of a dedicated full time Detective
  • 4 Patrol Officers assigned to “cover” Kensington during the week (but no assurances they are actually always in town. This is about 1 officer on patrol in Kensington during the day; in contrast, a fully staffed KPD of 10 officers has 2 officers on patrol in Kensington during the day, focused only on protecting our community.)
  • Kensington pays El Cerrito to buy El Cerrito’s own equipment (we likely do NOT own it, so rebuilding our police force afterwards would be almost impossible).

 

Estimated Cost: $2,320,000 to $2,469,000

  • Personnel (Salary, Benefits, Insurance): $1,525,000 - $1,674,000
  • Equipment, Services, Supplies: $355,000
  • Administrative Overhead: $440,000 (which is about 20% of the contract)

[Cost does NOT include the reconciliation that Kensington is likely expected to pay every year for any overspending by El Cerrito Police, nor increases in their officers’ salary]

This price is almost what we pay right now for a lot more, an autonomous and personalized police department of ten officers and all our community policing programs – vacation watch, wellness checks*, the home key program*, the supplemental traffic enforcement requests.

*Inquire with the KPD

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The Comparison

This does NOT compare favorably to what Kensington already has:

Current KPD

El Cerrito Kensington Beat

Number of Officers

1 Chief of Police
9 Officers

All 10 police officers are dedicated and accountable to Kensington as their only consideration.

1 Lieutenant
4 Officers

El Cerrito's Chief of Police controls all aspects of police operations, and there is no assurance of police presence in town. The Lieutenant won’t even be exclusively for Kensington!

Detectives

(Kensington’s Rotating full-time Detective/Sergeant Position continues)

Our Crimes our prioritized by our officers, who have the ability and motivation to ensure even the most petty crimes are solved. As it is, our officers have solved major crimes El Cerrito and Berkeley had neglected.

1 Detective
(part time)

Will be assigned to Kensington “as needed”, which means El Cerrito Police can decide what is important enough to warrant having a crime investigated.

Equipment

Kensington maintains
controls of its equipment

If the Board spent its money better, because of its small size, the KPD could easily afford to modernize the full department beyond that of El Cerrito.

The Kensington Police Chief would also set policy around how that equipment is used.

Equipment decisions are made by El Cerrito based on its budget, which is in shambles.

Further, how those equipment (like Tasers and Cameras) are used will be determined by the El Cerrito Chief of Police, who is not accountable to Kensington.

Training

Kensington Officers can continue to be as well trained as they are (currently, 1 year ahead of standards), with a focus on Community Policing

Training and personnel is solely decided by El Cerrito’s needs

Community Policing Programs

The KPD can continue its Vacation Watch, Wellness Check, Key Program, and other community services

All services at the discretion of the El Cerrito Chief of Police

Kensington CalPERS

CalPERS liability is built into the budget as part of police operations and our Board negotiating with our small union.

A higher fraction of our CalPERS obligations are funded, compared to El Cerrito.

We will pay a part of El Cerrito’s CalPERS liability on top of our own current CalPERS liability AND we will incur a very significant termination penalty resulting in expenses that outpace revenue.

El Cerrito’s obligations will be decided by the city council’s negotiations with a larger union, where Kensington has no say

Yearly Cost

$ 2,603,545
(from FY19-20 Budget)

A full service, dedicated Police Department of 10 police officers

$ 2,320,000 to $ 2,469,000
(for year 1)

Merely a “Beat” fraction of a Police Department (with no truly dedicated officers)

Cost per Officer

~ $ 260,000

With our own police, we pay over $80,000 a year per officer LESS than in a contract (even assuming a 10% raise)

~ $ 386,666 to
$ 411,500

This value doesn’t account for any raise given from El Cerrito’s union negotiations

Kensington Can NOT Afford Contracting Out

Contracting out would severely cripple or bankrupt us.

Once the Kensington CalPERS termination costs are considered, a police contract could leave the Police District with no money to serve the community in other ways, including maintenance of the park. We would be at risk of filing for bankruptcy. We might even need to pay more money (for example, pass a bond or tax increase) to dismantle our dedicated police force. This is illustrated in the charts below, which are estimates of how expenses would be distributed across the yearly revenue.

CHART 1

How the current costs for the Police District are laid out.

CHART 2

Police District costs for contracting out to EC, assuming the most conservative termination projection from CalPERS

PieChartPlots-03

CHART 3

Police District costs for contracting out to EC, assuming the least conservative termination projection from CalPERS

PieChartPlots-04

These are two likely scenarios:

Depending on how CalPERS decides to audit the District, we might get lucky and only be penalized to pay off its current CalPERS obligations faster. However, even then, CalPERS can always come back and enforce a termination penalty if CalPERS feels there are justifying reasons* or that the District has done something incorrect.

* CalPERS has previously “redetermined” parts of the District’s obligations reaching back many years, so it is not unheard of.

We might also get unlucky and face a massive termination fee that we clearly can never pay off (over 100,000 to 1 million dollars more than our current yearly revenue). In this case we would go bankrupt.

CHART 4

Police District costs when contracting out to EC, assuming the absolute best-case scenario where Kensington is only penalized to pay off its current CalPERS obligations faster

PieChartPlots-02

Even in this best case scenario the KPPCSD will NOT have enough money left to pay for its other community duties (the park, community center, solid waste), given almost all the Districts budget would be locked into police costs. There would be little to survive on when El Cerrito contract costs go up.

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The Methodology

  • Total budget obtained from the anticipated FY19-20 revenue on pg. 10 of the adopted FY19-20 budget
  • Kensington Police expenses are obtained from the adopted FY19-20 budget, (pg. 9 & 10), with CalPERS contributions separated out.
  • Kensington CalPERS costs are obtained from Accounts 527 and 521-A,-R,-T on pg. 23 of the adopted FY19-20 budget.
  • Predicted termination costs were obtained from the CalPERS actuarial report.
  • Termination fees were estimated to be paid off uniformly on a 15 year schedule.

Chart 1: How the current costs for the Police District (for a 10 officer dedicated police force) are laid out.

Fraction of KPPCSD Budget currently allocated to the Kensington Police Department is from (based on the FY19-20 Budget, pg. 9 & 10).

Note: Even accounting for a 10% raise does not heavily alter the chart (Total KPD costs increase by around 5 percent-points). It is still much more cost efficient for us to keep our police.

To Chart 1 ↑

Chart 2: Police District costs when contracting out to El Cerrito, assuming the most conservative termination projection from CalPERS      

El Cerrito Numbers were obtained from the EC City Council Meeting presentation. We used the most conservatively estimated CalPERS termination liability from the CalPERS actuarial report on the CalPERS website, at 14 million, paid off over 15 years in uniform payments.

Even at this 14 million CalPERS liability, on the estimated payoff schedule, yearly expenses for only police services are predicted start to exceed District revenues by over $125,000 a year -- over $1.8 million in 15 years total. This effectively breaks the chart.

Chart 3: Police District costs when contracting out to El Cerrito, assuming the least conservative termination projection from CalPERS.

El Cerrito Numbers were obtained from the EC City Council Meeting presentation. We used the least conservatively estimated CalPERS termination liability from the CalPERS actuarial report on the CalPERS website, at 26.9 million, paid off over 15 years in uniform payments. Given how CalPERS operates, costs near this amount are most likely.

At a 26.9 million CalPERS liability, on the estimated payoff schedule, yearly expenses for only police services are predicted to exceed District revenues by around $1 million a year -- $15 million in 15 years total. The chart just broke.

In fact, the General Manager was told over a year ago about the CalPERS expense issues with the department being labeled “terminated” (as seen in this email).

Chart 4: Police Districts costs when assuming the absolute best-case scenario where Kensington is only penalized to pay off its current CalPERS obligations faster.

El Cerrito Numbers were obtained from the EC City Council Meeting presentation. Kensington CalPERS numbers were estimated by considering the CalPERS standard 15 year plan and OPEB payments.

Note how the El Cerrito contract does NOTHING to solving our CalPERS obligations (one of the things the Board claimed that contracting out would have fix). In fact, the town is now paying off TWO sets of CalPERS obligations -- ours and part of El Cerrito’s. This is in addition to the fact that the District would NOT have enough non-police cash for other community services (such as Park maintenance).

 

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In Short

In a contract with El Cerrito, we would be PAYING MORE FOR LESS, and placing Kensington at Risk for skyrocketing costs and annexation.