After the recession of 2008 hit, salary increases stopped for several years for fire fighters and police. When the pay system was revised a few years ago, police and fire fighters were brought up to market rates. What about the lost pay during the intervening years?
We have not received a full accounting about lost pay. According to some, the City, despite issuing raises, continued to increase the amount of money in the budget that is classified as “unallocated”. Some say that the unallocated money in the budget grew $100 million during the time that raises were not issued.
The current budget proposal does not address this lost pay issue. Unfortunately, the budget for 2020 lacks, in my opinion, fairness. Fire Captains and Police Sergeants are singled out and treated differently from every other fire fighter and police officer.
Most fire fighters and police officers who currently earn less than the midpoint of their pay range (these are typically younger, less experienced personnel) will receive a 5% merit increase upon receiving a favorable review. Those higher than the midpoint will receive 3%.
In contrast, Fire Captains and Police Sergeants who earn less than the midpoint will receive 3% rather than 5% upon receiving a favorable review – 2% less than all the others who are similarly classified.
When you go for years without raises and the city continues to grow its amount of unallocated funds and now face merit increase policy that discriminates between Captains and Sergeants and everyone else, it is no wonder that people feel the system is unfair.
2% won’t fix everything. But increasing the merit increases for Captains and Sergeants another 2% from 3% to 5% like everyone else, will help.
I think we can afford it.