San Angelo Police on Meet and Confer
At 10:05 AM Friday morning the City of San Angelo Meet and Confer Committee convened at City Hall and San Angelo Coalition of Police President Doug Thomas informed the City’s Staff that SAPD Officers voted to reject a lesser offer represented by City Manager’s Staff on March 6, 2017.
Sixty Two percent (62%) of the officers voting, voted to rejected the most recent offer and instead look to San Angelo City Council to honor their Amended Agreement which promised a salary increase to bring San Angelo Police to 95% of the median salary level of area departments.
On March 6th, the Police Negotiation Team agreed to a vote by officers for a onetime lump sum payment option in lieu of salary adjustments agreed to in the Meet and Confer Agreement which were formerly ratified by City Council. At that Meet and Confer Committee meeting, City Staff indicated that there is no money in the budget for raises, but that the City confessed that it could fund a onetime stipend for police at $317,980. When questioned by members of the Police Negotiation Team, City Staff commented that the city could fund an additional $540,000 for stipends for fire and non-civil service employees as well.
After today’s Committee Meeting, SACOP’s President Doug Thomas offered comments explaining why officers voted not to accept a onetime payment. 1.) Officers were asked back in September 2016 to forgo salary increases due on October 1st, 2016 until April 1, 2017, so that the City could offset raising Insurance Premiums for all employees. The officers agreed to continue their then current salary level and delay contractual increases until April 1, 2017. In fact the City was financially capable at that time to fund the contractual salary increases, but police agreed to do their part to help City Officials maintain solid financial commitment for services. 2.) City Staff has apparently now found the funding necessary to fulfill police salary commitments, but chooses to place less priority on honoring its original promises today than it did when City Council ratified the Original and Amended Agreements.
After viewing the City’s Press Release, President Doug Thomas further indicated that the members of the San Angelo Police Department are very disappointed to see that City Management is attempting to blame officers for the City’s refusal to honor its commitments and promises. The Agreements between the City and San Angelo Coalition of Police on behalf of police officers are more than just mere words; they involve trust and they also involve legal commitments. We (SACOP) negotiated, in good faith, a series of pay increases to bring police pay in line with other comparable cities. Years of inferior salary increases resulted in San Angelo Police Department becoming on revolving door for young people interested in law enforcement. Once San Angelo Citizens paid all the costs associated with recruiting and training young talent, these folks would leave San Angelo for higher paying Cities. We joined with City Management and agreed to contractual implement annual salary increases geared to improve salary levels on the Police Department in order to stop the revolving door effect on turnovers at the PD and become more cost efficient with tax payer money.
Officers have trusted the City to honor their commitments. Now it appears City Management is opting to play the “Blame Game” in an attempt to disguise reality. The reality is that the City of San Angelo can fund contractual police salary increases from current revenue sources, however, it chooses to play games instead and claim that police are to blame. Not True!
A onetime payment leaves our members to face additional years of being underpaid, killing morale and damaging our efforts to recruit and retain talented individuals into our department. San Angelo Citizens pay for and deserve better efforts by City Staff.
The City told us they didn’t have the money to fulfill their promises. Now that they have admitted to having the funds, they want to negate the raises that the San Angelo officers have delayed, in good faith, based on the City’s word. San Angelo has always been a place where your word is your bond. All the officers of this department want is for the City Management’s word to mean the same.