Outrageous pay raises for KC police
Either way you look at it, Kansas City police officers just received some outrageous pay raises.
No. 1: Police Chief Jim Corwin usurped the authority of the City Council when it comes to raises. He decided to give his officers a 2 percent raise without getting the approval of elected officials.
Try to imagine any other department director thumbing his nose at the council and doing something similar.
Of course, Corwin (who’s set to retire in a few weeks) was protected by state control of the Police Department, which means the agency doesn’t have to answer ultimately to the people of Kansas City, just to the state-appointed police board.
No 2: The 2 percent raise is far lower than the pay increases the City Council recently lavished on the excessively staffed Fire Department.
That widened the inequity between the two public safety agencies, guaranteeing bad feelings among the 2,000-strong police force for now.
After all, the Fire Department got raises ranging from 8 percent all the way to 30 percent, according to budget director Mark Thoma-Perry.
So now the City Council looks extra bad for caving in to the fire union, which demanded the raises it had bargained for more than two years ago, without deciding what the elected officials would do for the police.
Firefighters took no raises for those two years, but were supposed to receive catch-up pay increases this year - if the economy had improved.
But it hasn’t, at least enough to warrant the large increases the firefighters got this year.
Mayor Sly James has a problem on his hands. As a member of the police board - the only elected official on it - he needs to find a solution that’s fair to police officers but doesn’t bankrupt KC taxpayers.
Right now, the police are demanding even more money - which is understandable, given how the City Council gave so much money to the Fire Department.