JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Jonesboro Salary and Longevity Committee met Monday afternoon to discuss an end in sight to pay problems for city employees.
"I think we pretty much know where we're trying to go now, it's just plugging money in," Darrel Dover said.
Dover serves on the committee with a number of other Jonesboro employees.
Now, after months of discussion, the committee is looking at the best option for raises, compression pay, longevity pay and incentives.
But there are still concerns over whether it's enough.
"We looked at what other cities are paying, Darrel and we know that we are way below," committee member Wayne Rogers said. "We're not trying to get to where they're at. We're just trying to get more fair."
Though the committee formed in April of this year, it's a problem that's been brewing for years.
"Whatever y'all come up with, I hope it stops the bleeding. We're down 36 officers in two years," David Stout with Jonesboro police said Monday. "That's the main point. We keep losing people to smaller departments."
Issues with base salaries and longevity pay were first brought to the attention of the Jonesboro City Council by the members of the police department a little over a year ago.
It was later determined that the committee should look at salary and longevity for all city employees.
"There are things that, I'm sorry, the city has spent money on that probably didn't have to be spent when we've got employees who got told that we don't have the money for salaries," committee member Nikki Nottingham said.
Though the committee stated there's an end in sight, it was made clear in the meeting that money for the salary increases is not in the budget for 2016.
For the foreseeable future, that money will come out of reserve funds. Because of that, Dover said they will have to make sure any solution is a sustainable one.
"If you do overextend in promises and stuff does go south, the only choice you have is to lay off people," Dover said.
The committee meets again next week.
From now til then, they plan to talk with employees about what kind of changes they might expect depending on which option is chosen.
"Our goal is to have this plan voted on by the council and approved by the mayor before the first payroll in January," Dover said.
The next city council meeting is January 5.
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