Archive for Wednesday, August 4, 2010

City OKs raises for police, fire personnel

August 4, 2010


New pay plans for city police and firefighters won approval at City Hall on Tuesday night, but not without some objection.

Local police, fire crews to get raises

Local police and fire department employees are set to get an increase in pay next year. The city commission approved the raise Wednesday. Enlarge video

Commissioners approved new agreements with the city’s police and fire unions on a 4-1 vote. Commissioner Lance Johnson said some of the wage increases were just too much for him to support during such a tight economy.

“I’ve struggled a lot with this,” Johnson said. “I think everything was done in good faith, but my conscience from a taxpayer’s standpoint tells me I have to hold back on this.”

The contracts provide varying wage increases for the two groups. Some of the key provisions include:

• All police officers will receive a wage increase of 1.5 percent at the beginning of 2011. Police detectives will not receive the general wage increase because the city contends detective salaries already are at or above levels seen in area communities.

• Both police officers and detectives will receive either a 2.5 percent or 5 percent wage increase on their anniversary date, based on their evaluations. But if they already are at the top of the pay scale for their position they won’t be eligible for the merit/step increases.

• Firefighters will receive on their anniversary dates either a 2.5 percent or 5 percent merit/step increase, based upon their evaluations. Firefighters who are at the top of their pay scale, however, will be eligible for only a 2.5 percent increase.

A majority of commissioners said they were comfortable with the pay plans, in part, because an increase in the city’s property tax mill levy was not needed to fund the raises.

In other business at City Hall, commissioners approved a permit that will allow patrons of The Oread hotel’s upcoming block parties to consume alcohol on parts of the public right-of-way near the hotel at 12th and Oread.

Commissioners approved the request on a 3-2 vote, with Mayor Mike Amyx and Commissioner Rob Chestnut opposed. Commissioners largely had approved the request last month when the hotel sought approval for the block parties, which will occur before and after each home Kansas University football game. The alcohol request couldn’t be given final approval at that time because it required a special public hearing.

Amyx and Chestnut both cited safety concerns in voting against the proposal. The other three commissioners voted for the proposal, but did require that the tents where alcohol will be sold be moved off the right-of-way. Only possession of alcohol will be allowed in the right-of-way, not sales.


flicker 7 years, 8 months ago

Got to love unions and liberal leadership who cave every time.

ivalueamerica 7 years, 8 months ago

Your comment shows a lack of sense.

Police and fire fighters dedicated their lives to us. They work holidays, they work unusual shifts and can die for us.

They require expensive and extensive training and support.

To loose one because another city pays a bit more costs taxpayers a lot more money than this small raise. It costs experience that is proven valuable in the field, it costs the time and money to train someone new and the investment to get them to become experienced, it costs time without full protection of the city.

Penny wise and pound foolish at best....

If we start loosing firefighters and police over something like this, it could cost a lot more money in the future to city coffers and make Lawrence just a little less safe. How much is your life or your home worth to you?

mr_right_wing 7 years, 8 months ago

This is one 'extra expense' I have no problem with (unlike the library which we just cannot afford right now.) These folks are basically willing to sacrifice their lives to keep us safe, I have no problem sacrificing some extra taxes (strictly) for them.

flicker 7 years, 8 months ago

I'm sure that's exactly how they spun it to the city commission. Many folks I know, including myself, have received little to no salary increase over the last two years in this economy. Unions will only intimidate or threaten if they don't get their way though.

CreatureComforts 7 years, 8 months ago

flicker, I don't know what you do, but do you put your life on the line for others?

I haven't received a pay raise, or even a cost of living increase, in 2 years either, and I still support this pay raise, because these police and firefighters are, I feel, more worthy of a raise than I am.

IndusRiver 7 years, 8 months ago

Well now, suck it up where the Fire Dept. at least is concerned.

irvan moore 7 years, 8 months ago

i am glad to see money spent on services that benefit all of us. these are the people who go into harms way to protect us, our children and our belongings. after seeing some of the things commissioner Johnson has voted to spend our tax dollars on and not want to raise the pay for firefighters and police officers i say shame on you.

CreatureComforts 7 years, 8 months ago

With all of the BS that Lawrence spends its money on, I am more than happy to give my tax dollars to people who put their lives on the line for me, and truly work for all of us. This should absolutely take priority over a bad bus system, new library, etc. in my book.

domino 7 years, 8 months ago

How refreshing to see positive comments about fire & law enforcement personnel!! I don't know what they are paid, but from my standpoint, whatever it is, it probably isn't enough!

Reuben Turner 7 years, 8 months ago

congratulations!!! congratulations!! If I'd give a pay increase to any group of people, it would be the group getting it. They are keeping us safe and helping us when we fall into trouble or see it coming our way. Thanks for the hard work.

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