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Jeong Ko v. City of La Habra; A Public Entity; and Does 1 Through 10 Inclusive

May 11, 2011

JEONG KO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF LA HABRA; A PUBLIC ENTITY; AND DOES 1 THROUGH 10 INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Manuel R. Real United States District Court Judge

Complaint filed: July 20, 2010

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. Plaintiff was sworn in as a probationary officer of the City of La Habra Police Department ("Department") on August 26, 2006.

2. The Department requires probationary officers to complete a 1-year probationary period.

3. The 1-year probationary term may be extended if the Department, in its discretion, believes the officer's performance is deficient.

4. Typically, probationary officers are hired at the base pay step, Step "A," and are evaluated by the Department at 6 months to determine if a merit-based step increase, to Step "B," is warranted based on performance.

5. Probationary officers are usually evaluated again at 1 year to determine if they have satisfactorily completed probation.

6. The Department does not automatically move officers from pay step "A" to pay step "B." Rather, the Department exercises discretion to determine if an officer's probation should be extended, to determine if an officer passes probation and to determine the pay step to place an officer both during probation and after probation is completed.

7. Once an officer completes probation, subsequent pay raises, or step increases, are discretionary and determined by an annual evaluation of an officer's performance.

8. Completion of 1 year of service, or completion of additional years of service, do not guarantee a merit-based step increase, as longevity alone does not guarantee a pay raise.

9. Merit-based step increases are based on merit, not longevity.

10. The 2007 -- 2009 Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") between the City of La Habra and the police officers' bargaining unit, the La Habra Police Association, states at Part III, "Salary Schedule," that "All step increases are based on merit and must be recommended by the employee's supervisor, subject to approval of the Police Chief, or designee."

11. Section 401.1 of the City's Personnel Rules, entitled "Salary Administration," states that "Salary increases are intended to reward job performance and are not given on the basis of length of service alone."

12. City Personnel Rules, section 401.1 (4), states that "Salary increases within a range shall not be automatic. They shall be based upon merit and granted only upon the recommendation of the department head."

13. Plaintiff's performance was formally evaluated after 6 months, at which time he was eligible for a ...


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