DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Pay raises are on the way for Dallas’ first responders. The city council today approved a $3.1 billion dollar spending plan that includes salary increases for both police and firefighters.
“This is something that we need to do,” says District 10 council member Adam McGough during budget discussions, “the time is right. We need to give our officers raises.”
The call for better pay for police was made before. Then in July, the ambush murders of five officers—including four on the Dallas force—turned up the volume. So in a rare show of solidarity, the Dallas city council approved raises for all police and firefighters.
“Within that, there are funds that have been allocated for police and fire raises,” says City of Dallas spokesperson Sana Syed, “we don’t know how much because the Meet and Confer agreement still has to be finalized.”
That’s the labor agreement with the union that determines just how far the budgeted cash will go. So, city leaders warn that discussions of percentage increases are premature. Still, the proposal appears to address complaints with a prior plan that would not have included increases for officers at the higher end of the pay scale.
That proposal rankled police unions that reminded the city that first responders took pay cuts to help the city during the recession. Thomas Glover, President of Black Police Association was one of those objecting to that prior proposal. “They expect us to say we’re okay with 30 percent of the people not getting raises, when 100 percent of the people in police and fire took pay cuts.”
Now that city coffers have recovered, public safety appears to be the beneficiary. Still, a somber reminder in the horseshoe that resources are not unlimited.
“That means it’s not going for dogs, it’s not going for homeless,it’s not going for all of the litany of things that we need to do in the city,” said District 11 council member Lee Kleinman, who later voted for the pay raises. But, he did so after reminding his colleagues and the citizens of where the extra tax dollars will not be spent. “We are making a choice here, to take all of the tax increase that we are passing on to our citizens and putting it to public safety.”