Guest letter: Police Chief Responds to Wage Issue at Levi’s Stadium 

SCPD Police Chief Responds to Wage Issue at Levi’s Stadium Event 

By Police Chief Mike Sellers

As with many organizations, holidays can be particularly challenging to staff. While the Santa Clara Police Department prides itself on a volunteer model to meet its staffing needs, on rare occasions mandatory overtime is necessary to ensure the public is protected by appropriate amount of police resources.

Leading up to the New Year’s Day football game at Levi’s Stadium, it was clear that the number of voluntary sign-ups to work overtime for that event was below normal. Officers that work overtime at Levi’s Stadium already receive time-and-a-half their hourly rate of pay per the union contract. Our dedicated officers had already worked a long and demanding year, which included the monumental task of providing public safety for Super Bowl 50. Offering an incentive of double-time to officers to work on this national holiday seemed like a more palatable approach than mandatory overtime. The Interim City Manager and I are both in favor of the double-time option, and the police union president felt his members would be more likely to voluntarily sign-up if they received double-time. Even though we felt this was a good option, we all knew, including the union president that all the Police Chief and Interim City Manager could do was make the recommendation. The City Council had the ultimate decision making power when it came to authorizing double-time.   

On December 22, 2016, the Human Resources Department sent a letter to the Police Officer Association leadership (The same letter was posted on their bulletin board) regarding my recommendation that the City pay double-time for the January 1st football game. In that letter, it was stressed that double-time required City Council approval. Due to the holidays, this item could not be considered by the City Council prior to the New Year’s Day event. The letter stated that the item would be put before City Council with a recommendation from the Interim City Manager and the Police Chief that the item be approved. 

This item was taken to the City Council during closed session for consideration as promised. The City Council decided not to follow our recommendations.

As a result of the police union president’s comments during Public Presentation on February 21, 2017, Mayor Gillmor requested this issue be brought back to the March 7th City Council meeting.

I will continue to support and recommend that City Council approve my recommendation. This issue is scheduled to be discussed at the March 7th City Council meeting. 

Editor’s note: We gave Sellers the opportunity to respond to a guest article by POA president Sgt. Pat Nikolai. 


  1. I left this same comment on Sgt Nikolai’s letter.

    It seems pretty clear to me what “Police Chief Sellers and City Manager Batra both approved this plan and said they would recommend it to the City Council.” means. To me it means it is NOT a done deal yet and there was a chance it would not go through.

    Hind sight being 20-20 he should have found another way.

    Perhaps appealing to the POA president to intercede on the city’s behalf and encourage more volunteers would have been a good start. Certainly the head of the POA has that kind of influence and the city’s interest at heart.

  2. Why would the city use taxpayer dollars to pay for NFL game security? The 49ers should be paying for this. Someone who understands the law better should weigh in and stop this giveaway. The Chief is not doing his job.

    • There is a public safety quota per NFL game that the 49ers are responsible to reimburse the City for. That per-event amount has been exceeded. The stadium authority’s discretionary fund pays any difference. It’s an ongoing issue. It’s been heavily reported on, but it’s certainly being addressed.

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