Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington has vetoed resolutions increasing the pay of part-time police officers and paying a bonus to all city employees that were adopted during a meeting of the council Monday.
In separate letters accompanying the veto notice, the mayor said raising the salary for part-time offices would result in them earning more than full-time officers starting with the department. “This would negatively impact the recruitment of full-time officers.”
She said the measure needs mor assessment from the Police Chief and Public Safety Committee.
Regarding the bonuses, Washington said in the 2022 budget, all non-uniform employees salaries wee adjusted to align with a salary survey which included adding longevity pay that would increase employees salaries on their 10tth, 20th and 28th anniversaries.
“During the 2022 budget hearings, I along with department heads and city council members proposed a two-percent cost of living increase for all employees in the 2023 budget<” Washington said in the letter. “It was also proposed to adjust salaries for uniform employees in accordance with the Johansen Salary Schedule. The projected costs for uniform salary adjustments would be significant because of he large number of uniform employees who have been employed with the City for a substantial period.”
She went on to say with the plans for employee raises and salary adjustments, “it is fiscally irresponsible for the city to provide bonuses at this time.”
Both resolutions were sponsored by Council Member Ivan Whitfield, and wee supported by Council Members Steven Mays, Lloyd Holcomb Jr., Joni Alexander and Glen Brown Sr. Voting no were Council members Glen Brown Jr., Bruce Lockett and Steven Shaner.
It would take six votes from council members to override the vetoes.