Friday, February 14, 2014

Police Pay Perpetually Behind Comparable Cities

San Angelo Live reported on City negotiations with Police Department representatives on pay:

“Our plan includes an adjustment of the midpoints of the ranges, including recruit, probationary PO, police officers, sergeants, lieutenants—moving the midpoints of those ranges to 85 percent of the survey data,” Dane said.

With the City's new website useless on historical issues like police pay, I reached out to former police chief Russell Smith with several questions.  First, I wanted to know how far behind San Angelo was on police pay for many years.  His response:

We were 46 percent behind those cities before they started trying to average with them. A Sargent now makes what I did as chief in 99.  

Next I was curious as to the target leadership and council were shooting for under City Managers Tom Adams and Harold Dominguez:

I thought they were going to try to stay in 90 percent range but the other cities have always given raises.
The target in 2008 was 95%, according to the Standard Times:

The council has committed to increasing pay for city employees to bring them within 95 percent of the average for similarly situated cities in Texas.
The city missed their target by 15%, given local officers are currently paid at 80% of comparable cities.  What happened since 2008 that the city fell behind so significantly?

Yesterday's abysmal pay and today's lower wages have a lifelong impact on city employees, including police:

Our much lower pay percentage means we retired with a much lower annuity than those others and that is why I keep reminding the city council. 
Underpaid now and underfunded in retirement.  No wonder half the new recruits since 2004 took their training and ran.  City Council and City Manager Daniel Valenzuela set policy.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out in upcoming budget workshops.

Update 2-27-14:  San Angelo Live shared how the city continued to fall behind in a contract intended to catch up and keep police pay competitive.

1 comment:

Jim Turner said...

When I first arrived in San Angelo, (Valentines day of 1989 by coincidence) the mantra being repeated by city hall and many local businesses and the media was that it was ok to pay less here because the cost of living was lower here. That was not really the case but that was their story and they stuck to it.