By Tenesha L. Curtis, contributor
Stone Mountain, GA — The Stone Mountain City Council approved a salary increase for city employees at an in-person meeting on Tuesday, July 19.
Councilmember Gina Cox stated that everyone working for the city should get a raise, not just police officers. Cox recommended that the starting salary for police officers be reduced from the originally proposed $50,000 down to $45,000
“It’s not based on what you deserve, it’s what’s fair,” Cox said.
Councilmember Clint Monroe presented multiple ideas for incentives to help with recruitment and retention of police officers. These included giving new recruits money to help them pay for mortgages on homes, getting certification stickers for the police department, and paying more for better benefits packages.
Interim City Manager Warren Hutmacher clarified that, based on his research and experience, benefits packages and certification stickers don’t affect recruitment. Hutmacher noted that people looking to apply for a job in law enforcement generally don’t take things like benefits packages into consideration.
“Their priority is ‘how much cash am I getting on my paycheck right now,” he said.
The council members agreed that raises should be given to all staff members of the city. There were several suggestions made regarding the amounts of pay raises and bonuses for law enforcement officers and non-police staff. This would include city employees working in departments such as public works.
Councilmember Chakina Johnson made a motion to approve an $8,000 retention bonus for police officers, a $4,000 retention bonus for non-police staff, an 18% raise for starting salaries for police officers, and an 18% salary increase for non-police staff.
If the salary for police officers increased by 18%, the starting pay for police officers would be $49,284, just shy of the $50,000 originally proposed, Hutmacher said.
“I just think there’s a lot of value from an advertising and recruitment standpoint to just go the extra seven hundred bucks for the starting salary and call it [$50,000],” Hutmacher said.
The council members decided to take Hutmacher’s note into consideration. The resolution that was approved stated that existing sworn city staff would receive a retention bonus of $8,000, while non-sworn staff would receive a retention bonus of $4,000. Based on the eligibility of the staff member, the bonuses would either come from the city’s ARPA funds or from the city’s general fund.
The resolution included a starting salary for certified police officers of $50,000, and an 18% increase in salaries for existing personnel.
The salary increases took effect immediately on Tuesday, July 19. Hutmacher said the bonuses provided in the resolution would be available on the next paycheck for each eligible city employee.
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