Representatives from the City of San Angelo and San Angelo Police Department met Wednesday for the first time in the new year to discuss negotiations between the two entities.
"We're about 80% or 83% of our benefits. We just want to be competitive. We don't want to be a training ground anymore," stated Head of San Angelo Police negotiations, Sergeant Korby Kennedy.
Marley confirmed Kennedy and other officers are sitting at a 80% competitive pay rate. The pay rate is determined by the average of 13 cities chosen by the San Angelo City Council. Kennedy and other officers are asking their pay to be 97% to 103% of the average in comparison to those cities.
In order for the police department's pay to increase, all city employees pay would need to increase as well. The city is looking to find additional funds without increasing taxes.
"Our challenge today was here's what you've asked for, how can we find that much money in our existing budget," declared Marley.
The following statistics have been provided by the city:
- 85% comparison...increased to $190,637 per year
- 97% comparison...increased to $1.7 million per year
- 103% comparison...increased to $2.4 million per year
"It takes a lot of taxpayer dollars to get a fully trained police officer and a fully trained fire fighter and, if we're just a training ground, they can basically cannibalize our system," said Kennedy.
While Marley agreed the city is trying to work with the police department, she said a common misperception is many of San Angelo's officers leave for better pay. Apparently, this used to be a problem years ago before the meet and confer state law requirement. It no longer is an issue.
"2013 they have one more officer than they are allowed to have and they are now filled at maximum with 5 people part-timers. 33 people have passed (the required tests) and are waiting to be hired," explained Marley.
Three additional meetings are already scheduled for January 17th, 22nd, and February 10th. The goal is to have all of the salary parts worked out by the end of February.
The San Angelo Police Department is also requesting:
- shift differential
- sickly buy back program
- modified vacation benefits
The City of San Angelo is asking for:
improving assessment centers
scheduling physical fitness requirements