Chattanooga Police personnel have been told that a lawsuit filed last week on the pay issue could affect planned pay increases for the new fiscal year that began July 1.
The city set aside $1.2 million toward the police Career Development Program, but how that will be allocated is up in the air.
Richard Beeland of the mayor's office said no decision has been made at this time to pull back the planned pay increases. But he said the overall police pay issue is being evaluated and the lawsuit will likely have some fallout on the way the raises are distributed.
The lawsuit was filed by police captains, lieutenants and sergeants, who said they were left out of the Career Development Program and are being passed in pay by some of those they supervise.
The police pay issue is set to be discussed today at the City Council's 3 p.m. agenda session.
Mr. Beeland said there was also an issue raised about some civilian personnel not getting the full three percent raise. He said in cases where individuals are already at the pay range maximum that their pay increase would be capped at a certain level.
Chief Bobby Dodd sent this memo on Friday to police personnel:
“As a result of recent litigation that was filed by the Fraternal Order of Police, I met this morning with the Mayor and other department heads to discuss advancement and pay increases for those officers who are in the Career Development Program. It was concluded that this matter will need extensive evaluation to determine how advancement and pay increases may impact the lawsuit.
“This is a complicated issue. We are working with administration and the City attorney towards a resolution. As of today, all advancements, promotions and pay increases will be vetted by the City of Chattanooga Personnel Department and administration.
“Officers who may be anticipating a pay increase due to an understanding of advancement or promotion will be contacted by the City of Chattanooga Personnel Department and advised of their pay increase status.
“Substantial changes to the Career Development Program are expected.”
Chris Anderson, a candidate for City Council District 7, issued this statement today:
"This year's city budget included a three percent pay increase for every city employee except most police officers and firefighters — a glaring omission by an irresponsible administration — but it turns out that some public works employees who were supposed to get raises will not receive them.
"Additionally, the budget will now be excluding the few police officers who completed the career development program — the weak-willed concession offered to the Chattanooga Police Department by my opponent in coordination with the Littlefield administration. On Friday, that same administration notified the police officers who thought they would be getting a pay increase that they would not receive one after all.
"The Career Development Program is not a pay raise. It is compensation for advanced training and time already spent (typically at the officers' own expense). Many of these officers earned that money over a year ago and have been waiting to be rewarded for their work. Now they have to wait longer. The reason is that an unrelated lawsuit was filed on behalf of police department sergeants and the very real issue of pay inequity.
"This is nothing more than an attempt by the Littlefield administration to drive a wedge between patrol officers and their supervisors, further undermining unity in our police department. This does not make our communities safer and it only divides the people who put their lives on the line for our safety everyday in Chattanooga.
"Councilman Rico has nothing to say to our police officers and firefighters as he continues to follow the destructive lead of the Littlefield administration instead of voting in the interests of his constituents. If I am elected as your representative, my first priority will be your safety — not political alliances and petty games."