• December 21, 2014

Killeen may add another pay raise for police, fire personnel

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Posted: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 4:30 am

In an effort to retain and recruit civil service employees, the Killeen City Council reached a consensus at a Tuesday workshop meeting to tack on an additional 3 percent pay increase to the originally proposed 5 percent for police and fire personnel.

City Manager Glenn Morrison originally proposed a 5 percent increase for civil service employees at a cost of $1.13 million when he presented the proposed 2015 fiscal year budget at a July 8 council meeting. However, with Killeen Police Department officers leaving the department for cities with more attractive salaries, the council agreed with city officials at its July 15 meeting that a more aggressive approached as needed.

A compensation study also showed that Killeen police officers are 8 percent underpaid and firefighters are 13 percent underpaid based on the market.

Councilmen Jose Segarra, Juan Rivera, Wayne Gilmore and Terry Clark agreed to the proposed 8 percent raise. Councilmen Jonathan Okray and Steve Harris disagreed with the proposal.

Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Blackstone was absent.

The additional 3 percent on top of the originally proposed 5 percent adds $761,000 to the budget, for a total of $1.89 million to sustain the increase for police and fire personnel.

“As far as the police department goes, they’re able to handle that without any impact,” Morrison said. “In the fire department, they’re not quite in that position. So, what we will have to do is look at cost savings and attrition. Also, we will look through the general fund as the year went on to look at any cost savings that we might have. I feel confident we’re able to handle those adjustments in the general fund.”

Police Chief Dennis Baldwin said the department currently has 18 vacancies and another officer recently put in notice to leave. He said once a candidate enters the academy, it takes about 18 months before officers are in the field answering calls on their own.

With other agencies recruiting in Killeen and officers leaving the department for higher pay, city staff hopes a pay increase will mitigate the problem.

“Quite frankly, I can tell you Houston, Austin, Dallas, Las Vegas, (Los Angeles Police Department), New York, they all come here,” Baldwin said. “Where we’re losing a lot of all our officers (is to) the agencies within Texas.”

Baldwin said the No. 1 reason for an officer to leave the department is pay.

“They are looking at higher pay; that’s a big thing to a lot of people,” he said. “It’s not that they don’t have the commitment and the care for this community, but they also have a commitment and care for their families, and I understand that.”

Baldwin said the department has “been down this road before.”

“We know we’re heading down this road again if we don’t do something,” he said.

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Welcome to the discussion.

3 comments:

  • Dragonus posted at 3:30 pm on Mon, Jul 28, 2014.

    Dragonus Posts: 2

    If a city employee from any other department used this tactic, they would be told, "There's the door, don't let it hit you in the rear on your way out!"

    If the only motivation for a officer is to get paid and force people to pay them WELL, then they are in the wrong profession. They are suppose to SERVE the public. They are NOT suppose to use the position as an officer to just simply draw a paycheck and then claim that they are not paid enough to care about other people's problems.

    Maybe we need to make the ACADEMY less attractive to train at so that we don't have so many recruits going through that system and then moving on after WE invested time and money into them.

    There are plenty of other employees who are grossly underpaid in other departments in the city. Yet no one seems to be coming to their defense as much as they are for the police.

    Those who keep loving the police no matter what and give them everything they whine about not having are somewhat like an abuse victim who still stays with their spouse no matter what only because they love them and are willing to overlook the abusive nature of the relationship.

    And before someone goes nuts over my analogy and does a hate rant, just know that I HAVE been abused in one way or another by a KPD representative. I know EXACTLY how some of the bad representatives are because of non legal related incidents with them. I use to work with them and studied how they acted towards different people in different situations.

     
  • Alvin posted at 8:13 am on Wed, Jul 23, 2014.

    Alvin Posts: 251

    The city manager, mayor, and the chief of police have the city council 'running scared'. They are using the 'scare tactics' on the city council. Too bad enough of them don't have the 'gonads' to stand up to them. By upping the salary of the KPD and KFD, they have given the employee potential leverage to use against all incoming salary requests.
    Pay isn't the only reason for people wanting to leave. Sometimes it's a desire to relocate and salary doesn't stand a chance. Sometimes it's not having the chance for upward mobility, promotional capability. Sometimes it's not being able to move laterally, within the organization. And sometimes it's the department itself, considered AFU. No the move by the council was a mistake, running from fear itself, but in my opinion, this council is famous for just that. The old adage stands correct the 'The only thing we have to fear is fear itself'. The sky's falling, the sky's falling.
    I agree with @Eliza, 'Baldwin said the No. 1 reason for an officer to leave the department is pay.' I don't happen to think of this in those terms. What a precedent you have started, giving enormous salary increases. I just hope that this city hasn't started a precedent equal to General Motors. They let the unions break General Motors.
    One of the 1 % who voted.

     
  • Eliza posted at 5:48 am on Wed, Jul 23, 2014.

    Eliza Posts: 897

    @ Baldwin said the No. 1 reason for an officer to leave the department is pay.---


    I have to disagree with the Chief on that...

    Many in an Academy will already have plans even while in Academy, to move onto what they consider a 'dream dept.'-----

    They only use Killeen to be able to receive the license of a Law Enforcement officer before moving onto were they really prefer to be employed.

    Many times too, officers will move on, if they feel , they aren't being allowed to do the work of a Law Enforcement Officer.
    Money has nothing to do with it, sometimes they can be too controlled, and not allowed to preform the duties as their job describes.

    I believe Law enforcement (and Fire) should receive pay and compensation plus all equipment needed to make their job as safe and worthwhile as possible for them.

    But there's such a thing as going too far ...