JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - For years, the Jonesboro Police Department has fought for better pay and the implementation of a step plan for officers. Tuesday night, they won.
Members of the JPD went into the city council meeting Tuesday afternoon knowing there was a chance their proposed pay plan would get bumped in favor of a step pay plan for all city employees.
The other pay plan was supposed to be introduced during a finance committee meeting at 4 p.m. Finance Committee Chairman Darrel Dover requested the city create a plan for all employees after the police plan made its way before the full council last month.
"That was the intention of the finance committee meeting this afternoon to look at that," Dover said. "But like I said, some people didn't show up."
The absence of council members Ann Williams and John Street kept the committee from reaching the quorum necessary to meet.
During the full city council meeting later that evening, Williams and Street were both present. Councilman Dover was clearly irritated that the meeting didn't happen, as it kept his plan from moving forward.
For police officers, though, the cancellation of the finance committee opened up the possibility for their pay plan to go through.
The plan was on its second of third readings Tuesday, but Councilman John Street requested those readings be waived and a decision be made.
"We've held this time after time after time," Street said.
One man still requested the council tread lightly on making any monetary decisions.
"These plans that's [sic] proposed, we can't afford them right now. We could afford them this year, next year maybe, but the next year? We don't know what revenues are going to do," Mike Burroughs said. "I just ask you to take your time."
His request elicited backlash from a few council members, who have been reviewing these plans for months.
"I don't know what you value people's lives and property at, Mike, and I know you mean well, but I'll tell you what, you can ride on bumpy roads and you can do without a lot of capital improvements but you've got to have public safety or a city will not exist," Street said.
Not much longer after that, the police pay plan passed with a 10-1 vote. Councilman Dover voted against the pay plan.
For Chief Rick Elliott, the pay plan means a chance to better recruit and retain certified officers.
"We'll start attracting some more certified officers and that's the goal but the ultimate goal is to retain what I do have," Elliott said. "Over the past 5 years, we've had 77 officers to come and go."
Elliott said once he's able to get caught up on certified officers and retain them, he can reinstate various crime-fighting units.
"I can bring back my special services unit and some other special units that I had to disband just to provide basic services for the street," Elliott said. "Once we get the specialized units back up, we can do more intense work in areas that are high crime areas."
For veteran officers like Heath Loggains, the change in salary means something much more personal.
"It's a life-changer for a lot of officers," Loggains said. "Probably the biggest thing about this is instead of this weekend having to go and work a side job to pay a bill, you're going to have officers be able to stay home with their families and give up that side job."
Due to an emergency clause on the ordinance, the police pay plan goes into effect immediately.
Now, Mayor Harold Perrin and the city council say it's time to do the same thing for firefighters and non-uniform employees of the city of Jonesboro.
Region 8 News asked Councilman Dover for an interview after the city council meeting, wo which he replied, "No comment."
Below, you can view the newly implemented police pay plan and the employee pay plan Councilman Dover was trying to introduce in the finance committee meeting.
9/20/2016 UPDATE: 6:30 p.m.
Police pay plan passes the Jonesboro City Council by a vote of 10 to 1.
The plan will go into effect immediately.
The Jonesboro Finance Committee and Jonesboro City Council will meet Tuesday night to discuss two proposed pay plans that would affect city employees differently.
The proposed Jonesboro Police Pay Plan will be held on its second of three readings during the Jonesboro City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m.
Prior to that meeting, the Jonesboro Finance Committee will meet to discuss amending Jonesboro's annual budget and implementing step plans for all city employees. That meeting starts at 4 p.m.
Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott previously told Region 8 News that it's possible his plan will be tabled by the council.
View the difference in the plans below:
Proposed Jonesboro Police Pay Plan
- Jonesboro police officers receive step raises at 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 15 and 20 years on the job
- Base pay for Jonesboro police officers would jump from $32,429 to $34,500
Alderman Darrel Dover's Proposed Employee Pay Plan
- All employees receive a step raise for each year on the job if approved by employee's immediate supervisor
- Police officers minimum salary would stay at $32,429 instead of going to $34,500 as proposed in the police pay plan
- Police officers' maximum salary would cap out at $3,000 less than the proposed police pay plan
Salary changes if Dover's plan is implemented
- No more compression pay
- No more longevity pay
- Incentive plans suspended
- Maximum $5,000 pay increase for uniform officers moving between ranks
- Plan supersedes Jonesboro Fire Department re-alignment pay policy ordinance
Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.