Finance committee considers salary increases for police | News, Sports, Jobs
WINTERSVILLE – Wintersville Police Chief Art Fowler has asked the council’s finance committee to consider a new compensation structure for members of his department that he hopes will help attract and retain staff.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Fowler offered to give all staff, including nine officers and two clerks, a raise of $ 1.50 per hour.
He also suggested increasing the starting hourly wage for new officers from $ 12.60 to $ 15 and the hourly wage after the one-year trial period from $ 13.50 to $ 15.72.
He suggested reducing agents’ regular hours from the current 85.5 hours for a two-week period to 80 hours for the same period, with agents being paid for overtime only after working 86 hours.
Fowler said the move would be in line with state wage laws for first responders and was supported by village officers, who welcomed higher pay for their regular hours.
He said the increases could be granted under his department’s current budget, as a long-time officer has retired and will be replaced by a new officer at starting salary.
“It’s essentially a reallocation of funds that have already been given to me”, said Fowler.
The meeting came after Fowler told council that the starting salary for village officers was the lowest in Jefferson, Harrison and Tuscarawas counties.
City Councilor Jason Mattern asked Fowler about the number of officers in other villages and townships in the county and the hours they work.
“I am very grateful to have this complete service” said Mattern, who later added, “You are unique and deserve to be commended for it.”
City Councilor Gael Damron agreed, saying the level of police protection is one of the reasons she enjoys living in Wintersville.
Fowler earlier questioned the planned hiring of three municipal workers at a starting salary higher than that of the police.
Village administrator Walter Ziemba said two of the three will be hired for the water and sewer departments and paid from their funds, which according to state regulations are separate from the general fund. .
Mattern noted that the general village fund is around $ 300,000, “which is not a lot to play with.”
He and City Councilor Bob Merriman, who chairs the finance committee, agreed that the starting salary of officers and the salary of department clerks, which is lower than this, should be increased.
But they expressed concern about a long-term impact on the village’s finances.
“The aim is to protect our citizens, but we must be fiscally responsible” Mattern said.
He asked if the federal bailout funds coming to the village, in two installments of about $ 192,000 each, could be used for law enforcement.
Said it is to be used for infrastructure, he said it was disappointing.
Mattern said that over the past 11 years, the board has approved increases of 2-5% for all staff and salary increases for four senior officers to reflect their longevity.
He added that the village also pays 100 percent of its employees’ health care premiums and 70 percent of their deductibles.
But Mattern added that he and others would seriously consider Fowler’s proposal and thanked the police chief and two village officers who attended the meeting for their input.
He also noted that the request will be put to a vote of all council members.
The next regular council meeting will be held on November 4 at 7 p.m. at the municipal building.
(Scott can be contacted at [email protected])