Cops and Robbers

When I first heard “defund the police” it was upsetting to me. Then a neighbor explained “we don’t want to defund the police, we want dollars diverted to other programs” We old timers call that “Robbing Peter to pay Paul.” Now I’m hearing from Washington elected officials get rid of the police altogether with no mention of who we call for help in the middle of the night when a stranger enters out home, when a child is shot and killed playing in his front yard, when a drunk driver hits and kills a pedestrian or the corner store is robbed. Who do we call?

What I write here includes the WPB Firefighters. They are both in the same boat as far as wages and benefits. City Administrator Faye Johnson made statements concerning Police contracts at the last City Commission meeting. I was more concerned with what she didn’t say.

The City is obligated to follow the previous contract concerning raises, and if you recall a vote by the police overwhelming voted out the PBA (Police Benevolent Association) and a new contract with the FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) who has been negotiating with the City for a new contract for a year, and May 2021 will begin it’s 8 month without a contract.

Step Plan

The Police Officers we see on the street, riding in patrol cars and respond to us when called are in what is referred to as a “step plan” and the police currently have a 12 step plan which determines police pay grade. When an officer reaches their one year anniversary date, they earn a 5% pay increase until they reach their 12th “step” or year.

Topped Out

Meaning there are police officers who have reached their 12th Step 10 years ago, have over 20 years with the dept. and have not received a raise in the last 10 years.

Something needs to change, either increase the step plan or increase the pay grade.

Wrap your head around that, because I can’t understand why these cop’s continue to show up each and every day to protect us in what I consider one of the world’s most dangerous professions especially when moral is at the lowest point in years.

WPB Windfall

Reported by WPBF (25) news: A recent press conference and news story with Frankel & James can be seen below.

President Biden signs $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

“Congressman Lois Frankel said West Palm Beach will receive about $25.3 million.”

“Mayor Keith James said during the pandemic the city experienced revenue losses of $7 million and spent about $2 million on testing, PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and overtime. He said the city is $10 million short of its projected 2021 budget.”

5% Increase

“The Mayor is recommending to the Commission a starting salary of $249,000 for consideration, which is within the General Management Salary Rate Schedule for the City Administrator Pay Grade, GM20 ($174,303 – $261,454) Upon successful completion of a six (6) month probationary period, Ms. Johnson’s salary will increase by 5% to $261,450, also within the current salary rate schedule.”

Police Officer Step1 $49,900 X 5%= $2,495 = $52,395 1st. Year anniversary.

City Administrator $249,000 X 5% = $12,450= $261.450 6 month Anniversary. In less than a year Ms. Johnson is $4.00 short of the top of her GM20 pay grade. When she is due for a pay increase how does the City handle it. Possibly leave it at GM20 but increase the Salary Rate Schedule from $261,454.00 to.$350,000.00.

WPB is the largest and busiest municipality in PBC yet they are the lowest paid. Don’t our first responders deserve better?

4/29/2021 @ 2:00 PM City Hall: Negotiations between the City & IAFF (Firefighters)

5/7/2021 @ 10:00AM City Hall: Negotiations between the City & FOP (Police)

Rep. Lois Frankel says COVID-19 relief plan will bring millions to Palm Beach County (wpbf.com)