Two recall movements in two neighboring cities are on the move against elected officials this year – one in Westminster that’s guaranteed a recall election and another in Santa Ana that has gathered the signatures but won’t find out until next month from county officials whether it can move forward.
DA records contradict its public statements for why the DA’s office did not file DUI hit-and-run charges against Santa Ana police Sgt. Gerry Serrano, who now leads the city’s influential officers’ union.
Sgt. Gerry Serrano went from facing potential DUI hit-and-run charges to leading one of the larger police unions in California. Voice of OC is publishing portions of the DUI police report for the first time.
The suit alleges union president Gerry Serrano held a grudge stemming from then-Police Chief Carlos Rojas’ discipline of Serrano for a 2011 hit-and-run DUI arrest, and later worked to oust Rojas as part of an “illegal scheme.” Serrano and the city deny the claims.
Santa Ana City Council members granted raises to police officers and sergeants totaling $25 million over the next two and a half years, without the ability to actually pay the $4.3 million cost for this fiscal year.
Reyna was facing the likelihood of sworn testimony, in public, by other city officials and one of his family members regarding allegations he falsified residency documents. His resignation sets the stage for a potential shift in power at City Hall.
Santa Ana City Council members will vote Tuesday on the largest pay raises for the city’s police officers in more than a decade, totaling $25 million in taxpayer money over the next two and a half years and adding $12 million per year going forward in additional costs. The raises amount to a 13.6 percent to 19.3 percent increase in base pay for each officer and sergeant between now and July 2020, according to the city. Officers and sergeants with 15 to 19 years in law enforcement would receive raises totaling 16.5 percent, and those with 20 or more years would receive 19.3 percent in increases. Before the last set of raises in 2017, the median compensation for a Santa Ana officer totaled about $213,000 per year, including $111,000 in pay before overtime and $88,000 in benefits, according to city data published by Transparent California. The city staff report doesn’t offer an explanation for the raises, beyond saying they resulted from negotiations between the police officers’ union and City Council.