The Fraternal Order of Police has even been running TV ads to make its case for a larger raise, but the council hasn’t gotten behind the across-the-board salary bump.
“My main regret is that we are not able to enhance the Mayor’s pay plan proposal beyond the 1% across the board increase,” Councilman Ronnie Steine, chair of the budget committee, said in a written statement.
In May, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean proposed the one percent raise, and that doesn’t start until halfway through the year. At the same time, city leaders have been praising tax revenues, which have rebounded to pre-recession levels.
It would cost $9 million to give police officers the requested three percent raise. Local FOP president Robert Weaver says he hasn’t found that kind of spare change in the city’s $1.9 billion budget.
“I have not identified $9 million, wherever it may be in the budget. But it’s about priorities,” Weaver said. “We need to get back to where we should have been.”
Police have had their automatic step raises frozen for the last several years. A consultant study from earlier this year found that officer salaries are right at the average for peer cities. However Weaver says if police are expected to perform above average, they should be paid that way too.
The Metro Council is scheduled to take a final vote on the 2015 budget Tuesday night.