A veto by Mayor Shirley Washington of a resolution that would have increased the pay of part-time police officers and provided a bonus to all city employees was upheld by the Pine Bluff City Council Monday night by a vote of 5-3.
Six votes were needed to override the Mayor’s veto.
In separate letters accompanying the veto notice last week, 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 more 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 10th, 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 were 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.
The five council members that supported the original resolution are the same five that voted in favor of overturning the veto in Monday night’s meeting.
Council member Joni Alexander will join Good Morning Deltaplex Tuesday morning to give her thoughts on Monday night’s vote.
*Ray King contributed to this report.