RALEIGH N.C. (WNCN) – Raleigh fire and police associations are pushing city leaders to put even greater pay bumps into the plan than the city originally proposed in next year’s budget.
The city’s budget proposal will increase minimum starting salaries anywhere between 18 and 51 percent depending on the position.
However, Rick Armstrong with the Raleigh Police Protective Association, said the issue is that increase is only for starting pay, not existing officer salaries.
“Police officers who have been here five to 10 years are getting a three to five percent raise while they’re turning around and giving police officers who are just starting the job an 18 to 19 to 20 percent raise, it’s literally a slap in the face to police officers who have been here,” Armstrong said.
The local police association is instead asking for a 10 percent raise for officers across the board, that goes for detectives and sergeants.
It’s also asking for the ability to choose overtime pay instead of compensatory time to help daily staffing shortages.
“The city of Raleigh is often regarded as one of the top places to live and we will lose that reputation if we do not keep the city safe,” Armstrong said. “The only way to keep the city safe is to keep the police department funded.”
As for the fire budget, the City of Raleigh proposes a starting firefighter salary of more than $46,500.
But, the Raleigh Professional Firefighter’s Association, Local 548, said with work hours on average above 50 hours per week, a firefighter will take home far less than the living wage ($18.19/hr) for city employees who work a typical 40 hours.
“We’re out there day and night serving for cardiac arrests, breathing problems, overdoses, car accidents and childbirths, and we see some of the greatest sites in life and some of the worst sites in life,” Local 548 president Andrew Davis said.
The firefighters association instead wants a minimum starting pay of $52,900 dollars, with a 4 percent step increase per year of service.
“To incentivize our firefighters to stay in Raleigh and not jump to other organizations across the state,” Davis said.
Both proposals from the police and firefighters associations would cost millions more in the FY2023 budget than the city’s proposals.
In order to make up the difference, city officials said in a memo that they would have to take the money from other areas of next year’s budget, or increase city taxes.