RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The Raleigh City Council on Monday passed the fiscal year 2023 $1.14 billion budget, which includes raises for police officers and firefighters, but not as much as they hoped for.
A pay plan more in line with what police and fire associations asked for was considered as a potential budget update during the budget work session Monday, but in the end, the council voted on the city manager’s pay proposal.
Firefighter starting pay will go from $39,200 to $46,540, shy of the roughly $53,000 in plan from the Raleigh Firefighters Local 548.
“I was completely shocked that they chose to go with the recommended budget from the city manager, and basically turned their back on first responders,” said Chris Ferrell, a captain with the Raleigh Fire Department.
Ferrell is concerned the pay for veteran firefighters won’t be enough to keep people from going to other departments.
“It’s not a good day for the citizens of Raleigh, it’s certainly not a good day for the first responders in Raleigh, and I just hope that the council doesn’t live to regret the decision just from the results of what they decided today,” Ferrell said.
Raleigh City Manager Marchell Adams-David said the budget moves the pay range minimums for police and fire positions to the average of Wake County municipalities plus 6 percent, with pay maximums also increasing.
According to budget documents, the starting salaries for nearly every position will increase between 18 percent and 51 percent for the Raleigh Police Department and between 11 percent and 58 percent for the Raleigh Fire Dept.
Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said employees are at the heart of the budget.
Rick Armstrong is the vice president for Teamsters Local 391. He said he’s highly disappointed in the pay plan.
He said while increasing the starting pay for police officers to $50,301 is a good step, the plan doesn’t do enough to address veteran officers. He wanted to see a 10 percent raise for officers across the board.
“The city just continues to refuse to listen to their rank and file and does what they want to do, and they’ll continue to lose police officers,” Armstrong said.
According to the city’s budget department, the higher pay police and fire plans would have cost the city $4.4 million more than the plan that passed in the budget.
Adams-David said the new pay plan for first responders goes into effect August 1.