Douglas Police Officers Association (DPOA) Want Equal Pay
The Douglas Police Officers Association (DPOA) wants pay equal to that of other agencies around the state.
The starting salary for new DPD hires is $39,144 a year. In their first year they go up one step. After that they move up the scale every two years. Once the officer reaches nine years, Step E, they are not eligible to move up to Step F until their 22nd year of employment.
In between Steps E and F they do however receive a longevity lump sum bonus on their anniversary dates. Those bonus are schedule from 10-14 years $200, 15-19 years $300, and 20-21 years they receive $500 bonuses a year.
The DPD officers received an increase in 2007, of 14 percent, but since then have not seen any increase in pay.
“We haven’t had a raise since (former Mayor Ray) Borane left,” DPOA President Ray Miramontes said. “Since then we have been asking for raises. Starting from Curtis Shook to the current city manager, but we always get the same answer ‘no’.”
According to City Manager Carlos de la Torre, there are many factors that go into denying the pay increases for these officers; the biggest one being there isn’t room in the budget for it.
By the end of fiscal year 2013 the city’s budget will be $600,000 in the red and every year the cost for the Arizona Retirement System seems to go up.
“If those manadatory increases would not be put in place maybe then the city would be in a better position to provide the salary,” De La Torre said. “Since those percentages are huge the city has not had the funds to provide both pay for the retirement and pay for the salary increases.”
Miramontes proposed on behalf of the DPOA the possibility of a change to Step F to 14 years and Step G to 18 years. Currently Step F is set for 22 years and G is set for 27 years of service.
“Considering what we go through what we see, many of us need to retire at 20 years,” Miramontes said. “If we do that we will be making the same at 20 years as we did at nine years.”
The city did a study comparing Douglas with other markets in the area.
The study took into considerations the population and median household income of the comparing cities. Based on the study with the same or close population and household income Douglas Police Officers were four percent below the average.
A similar study was done on border cities and based on the study DPD was paid eight percent over the average.
“The cities we compare ourselves to, we are there, we are low but not drastically low,” De la Torre said.
DPOA’s concern is if these studies are accurate. They feel that the crimes they encounter in Douglas are not similar to those in other towns, thus making the study inaccurate.
The city manager told Miramontes that the increases in salary were not feasible at this time. But said he would recommend the changes to the salary scale for the DPD only to the council.
“The only thing I think we can consider is making the F and G steps come into fruition as part of this budget, that’s going to be my recommendation to the council,” the city manager said.
The pay scale and salary increase recommendations will be on the May 8 city council agenda.