Budget: Police

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The draft budget drops its first bomb in the foreword. While most city employees are on a pay freeze, the budget allocates more than a million dollars for police department salary increases:

The Police Department contract calls for a graduated fix to their officer/sergeant compression issue. Fiscal Year 2022 is
the third year of their collective bargaining agreement and the final jump in salaries to complete that compression fix. Furthermore, with the restricting of the command staff, another compression issue has arisen. Lieutenants make less than Sergeants, and Captain’s make nominally more. For this reason, the City has determined that while not required to fix the compression issue for command staff, if we don’t fix the issue now, it will become a larger problem going forward. The Police Department compression fix accounts for approximately $1,028,000 of the overall increase in personnel costs.

This increase brings total police department salary to the same level as 2014. But there’s a big difference: In 2014, the department had 66 full time employees, and 13 part timers. The current budget provides for 52 full time employees and 9 part time. Only 34 of those employees are officers. And of course, many of those positions have remained unfilled for years.

So what is this “compression issue”? Salary compression occurs when there is insufficient difference in pay level between different positions. As they said in the foreword, “Lieutenants make less than Sergeants, and Captain’s make nominally more.” The foreword indicates that they’ve allocated more than a million dollars for the “compression fix.” There are a total of 13 police department employees ranked above officer, including the chief. What sort of salary increases are we handing out with this million dollars? The budget doesn’t say.