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Texas police department progressing in salary negotiations

One Texas city is finally making progress in salary negotiations for their police department. The San Angelo Police Department has spent nine long months negotiating salaries to bring their officers up to their set benchmarks. Thursday, the San Angelo Coalition of Police signed off on an agreement at City Hall that would raise the pay of their police officers to 95 percent of average salaries of police officers in cities used for a benchmark. The proposed raise won't come all at once, but over a three-year period. Now the employment contract is just waiting for a sign-off from the City Council.

Currently, the police department pay raises are based on a step system to determine the pay scale for an officer. The officers are paid per their years of service; for example, all officers with five years seniority are paid the same. Annual raises are a set amount that is divided up into a pay raise and a level increase, per the director of the city's Human Resources department. In the new contract, everyone will be on the same step, and the raises will not be reliant on years of service.

Officers' salaries are now at approximately 82 to 84 percent of their benchmark cities. In the first year of the new proposed salary contract, the salaries will be raised to 88.5 percent. They will increase to 91.75 percent in the second year and will be at 95 percent the third year. In addition, an extra percentage will be added in years two and three to take into account any growth factor in the benchmark cities. This was a controversial part of the negotiations because of disagreements in what the future growth should be. Some wanted 3 percent, but the final number was capped at 2.5 percent.

These types of negotiations take time and often a lot of planning to come up with a solid agreement by all parties. A nonbiased attorney can help these negotiations along by ensuring all options on the table are fair, equitable and legal. Employee rights must be taken into consideration to avoid future lawsuits or discrimination charges.

Source: Source: San Angelo Live, "Agreement Reached on Police Pay Raise; Decision Rests with Officers, Council," Chelsea Reinhard, July 10, 2014

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