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Police association presents salary solution

By Melissa Crowe
July 23, 2012 at 2:23 a.m.
Updated July 24, 2012 at 2:24 a.m.


If you go

• WHAT: City Council Budget Workshop No. 3

• WHEN: 4 p.m., Tuesday

• WHERE: 107 W. Juan Linn St.

• TOPICS: Police and fire departments' salaries

Public Works Proposals

• 2013: $25 million

• 2012: $24.6 million

• Traffic signal timing studies on Navarro, Houston Highway and Main Street: $158,000

• One bucket truck: $103,000

• One backhoe loader: $110,000

• Wastewater Treatment Plant Grit Classifier Replacement: $132,000

• Parking lot improvements to city offices, 700 Main Center: $125,000

• 2013-17: $134.68 million

• North Street Alternate: $11.3 million

• Ball Airport Road: $13.2 million

• Leary Lane Reconstruction: $1.2 million to $10.8 million

• Glascow Street Extensions: $8.8 million

During Victoria City Council's second budget workshop Monday, police department pay schedules continued as a major point of debate.

Human Resources Director Cheryl Marthiljohni compared the city's proposal to what came from the local police association. For the most part, both were well inline with each other.

However, the association suggested a seniority-based scale while the city preferred a merit-based system.

Mayor Will Armstrong said the council needs to take the whole budget into consideration before making a decision on the salary issue.

"We have an obligation to the community to do the best we can by the police, fire and EMS," he said. "It's a work in progress. We need to make some adjustments."

Marthiljohni's presentation showed the city's adjustment would cost $239,754. That plan includes a 3 percent across-the-board raise costing $153,822, and $85,932 to bring officers up to market pay.

The police association's plan, which would adjust staff to a step plan based on anniversary, costs $869,296.

Police Chief J.J. Craig will present his solution Tuesday to the discrepancies of his department's salary woes.

"From my perspective, I appreciate (the association's) proposal in terms of what it attempts to accomplish," Craig said. "But from a management perspective, basing salary solely on seniority creates leadership challenges."

He said the meeting was positive overall.

Where the two plans differed most was the minimum salaries for captains and assistant chiefs. The city proposed a minimum of $71,759 for captains and $80,000 for assistant chief, while the association proposed $80,000 for captains and $89,000 for assistant chiefs. The current minimum salaries for those two positions are $64,000 and $80,000, respectively.

A graph Marthiljohni presented showed nearly all senior patrol officers and detectives ranked in the bottom of their annual base salary brackets.

Although Councilman Paul Polasek does not think the issue will be resolved right away, council can come up with a solution, he said.

"Our goal is to see a normal distribution of most our officers at least the midpoint," he said.

Like the mayor, Polasek said the whole budget needs to be considered.

"Every one of us wants to give them as much as we can afford, and everyone else in the city," he said.

Councilman Joe Truman said he favored a pay-for-performance scale.

"We're pretty much dead on," Truman said. "We're just haggling over whether it's a pay-for-performance or a tenured situation."

He said he feared a seniority-based situation can lead to laziness.

"They're not empowered as individuals to advance their careers by advancing their education and certifications," he said of the current scale. "I always want to encourage peak performance: bring more to the table and earn more."

The last pay-for-performance was in 2008, Marthiljohni said.

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