Am I the only person that find it a little bizarre that the mayor and his staff - City Council and their staff, and all city employees are getting pay raises for 2012-2013; except for the very ones that put their life on the line each and every day providing “Service to our City”: the police chief and police officers; the fire chief and firemen totaling 750 employees. This is a total embarrassment and almost impossible to believe.
The city proposed, and the City Council agreed, to pay 130 police officers for "additional training" that they have completed based on a Contractual Agreement between the mayor-city personnel department – the police department and a group of officers.
This Contractual Agreement entitles an officer to receive additional pay after he or she completes a specific required level of additional job related training.
Only officers with three years of service and who are below the rank of Sergeant are eligible to participate in this program.
Some of these officers completed their training nearly 2-years ago but were not paid because the Mayor cut the funding for the program.
The program has only been in place since 2008-2009. However is has only been partially funded during this period bringing about this now large lump sum today that has to be paid to the eligible officers.
This also brings about another question. The Chattanooga Fire Department has operated this "SAME" program for 14-years now. It has “Always” received funding and has "Never" been used as a political tool during Budget talks.
This program is not a budget issue; it is a contractual agreement between the mayor and the sworn officers that protect our city. It is not tied to annual pay raises or the lack of pay raises.
The program works and has an established track record to produce a better trained employee in his or her field of professionalism providing services for our great city. The city benefits greatly from these better trained and better qualified firemen and police officers
If a fireman or police officer completes the "additional training" that is required; then they have earned the compensation promised. Even of those eligible, not all firemen or all police officers participate in the program.
When one does as instructed and complete the task set forth, then they have earned whatever the reward or compensation promised. To later say this compensation is a raise it totally wrong and purposely misleading.
However, once all is said and done it is up to the mayor to Fund the program as he agreed.
As a former employee for 28 years with the city of Chattanooga, I am now ashamed to say I live in such a city that has so little appreciation for its first responders.
Retired Chief of Police
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We have addressed the issues surrounding pay increases for civilian and sworn employees and Council has approved the FY2013 operating budget. The police officer career development (POCD) program was funded.
Current Police Chief Bobby Dodd has the responsibility to provide feedback to the administration on the effectiveness of the POCD program and recommend any changes.
Additionally, as we have stated before, it is essential that all career development programs be implemented and managed by the city of Chattanooga Personnel Department to ensure objectivity and equity for all participants.
Richard J. Beeland
City Media Relations Director
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Chief Cooper, you are not alone. You are by no means by yourself. I find it pretty incredible this is a done deal. Mr Beeland, in his response to your letter, chose to not address the central tenet of everyone's dismay, that raises do not extend to all sworn personnel. I see behavior in this administration that borders on juvenile, the openness with which retribution is administered when "crossed" by citizens who speak their minds. I refer here to Mr Joel's words to City Council recently. I know the mayor sometimes sees his errors, my hope is the heat will stay on to amend the decision that has been made. A curious thing, police and fire personnel I talk to at length I almost always ask about their side job. Though it is not a given they have one, it pretty much is a given they either have a spouse with a good job or have enough side work to make a decent living.
When I served on the county grand jury years ago, I noticed several officers who came before us had really short fingernails. I bite my nails too. I don't take the stress quite as far as these folks did in trimming their nails well to the quick. That impression has stayed with me. I am sorry to know the folks who set pay and are a lot closer, officewise, to cops and firefighters can't see simple truths as well.
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Richard Beeland needs to get a C-L-U-E that retired employees and citizens in general are still citizens and do not relinquish their constitutional rights to free speech.
What an act of intimidation from the mean little playground bully, Mr. Richard Beeland from the land of no advertisements for million dollar contracts.
Principal for Little Chicago Watch
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As the spokesperson for the mayor one would think that Mr. Beeland would be better informed before taking to task the current or former chief of police.
For the record, the city personnel department developed and implemented the Career Ladder Development program and, to this day, still manages both programs for the Fire and Police Departments.
So it appears that as the former chief stated; This has absolutely nothing to do with pay raises.
If the mayor would fund both programs equally as he agreed to, we would have better trained employees in both departments.