Tucson City Council approved a motion tonight for police pay raises, although officers are not happy.
All of the money is for raises across the board for all city workers. The motions also falls short of addressing the merit increases that officers want.
The budget hearing Tuesday night was a packed room with police officers who want pay raises that reflect their years on the job, their training certifications and the risks they endure on the streets.
The proposed raise for all city employees is 55 cents per hour; cops say this is not what they ask for.
City Council member Karin Uhlich feels this is a step in the right direction for everyone.
"All of our labor partners have worked with us in good faith
during the difficult years and have sacrificed through furloughs and higher
benefit costs," Uhlich said.
"The merit system implementation would cost the city about $2.4 million," said Will Bonnanno with the Tucson Police Officers Association. "It's surely money that can be found; it's not a super high number by any means."
Council member Steve Kozachik did not support the 55 cent raises. He says it would mean more pay today, but more debt and furloughs tomorrow.
Tucson Police wanted more pay, and they got it, but it could be months before they see any gains.
Officers have already taken their pleas back to the city council.
"At some point you have to ask what's more important. Where
are our prioritites? Especially with the public seeing a decrease in
service," Bonnanno said.
Karin Uhlich/ City Council Member
"I think we took a good step this afternoon and the manager will
work with the labor council to make sure we have a good plan moving forward," Uhlich continued to support the pay increase.
Uhlich says she hopes to see the 55 cent raise in effect by January 1.
The head of the police union says he hopes city management will reach out to him to discuss the merit pay.
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