30 city officers paid over $70,000 annually
YOUNGSTOWN — While the city’s police patrol union says the salary its members receive, even its most senior officers, is low in comparison to nearby communities, about one-third of them made more than $70,000 last year when overtime and bonus payments are included.
The most senior patrol officers make $58,320 annually, about $28.03 per hour, in base pay.
In 2020, 30 of the union’s 95 members made more than $70,000, including 11 who received more than $80,000, according to data provided by the city finance department at the request of The Vindicator.
The additional pay is for overtime as well as hazardous duty pay, bonus payments for working a certain number of years (called longevity pay), a uniform allowance and extra money for things such as having a college degree, working a late shift or out of rank.
Most city union contracts include overtime, longevity pay and college bonuses with few getting the other perks.
Police patrol union members picketed Wednesday and Friday downtown objecting to how labor negotiations are going with the city.
The union passed out flyers that listed the $28.03 top hourly salary as being lower than in Austintown ($29.39), Boardman ($32.28) and the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office ($31.13) while stating Youngstown officers’ “workload is far above comparable cities our size.”
It also stated: “In Youngstown, wages are now playing a major part in officer retention.”
The union also pointed out that the $16.49 per hour starting salary, $34,307 annually, is well below that of numerous other police departments. But city financial records show that only four out of 95 patrol officers made under $35,000 last year.
“With regards to new officers, their arguments on salary are justified,” city Law Director Jeff Limbian said. “We’re trying to make it competitive for all and not just at the top.”
The city is negotiating a new contract with the police union. The current deal expires Nov. 30.
Mayor Jamael Tito Brown recently said: “The offer we have on the table is the best in the past 10 years.”
Police union officials argue they’ve received a 7 percent total salary increase over the past 13 years with no raises in seven of those years. However, that is exactly what every other union in the city received during that time.
City and union officials won’t discuss contract details, but sources said the city’s proposal would raise the salary of new officers to be close to $20 per hour and that the pay raises are more than what other unions have received for the same years.
One item the city has to consider is any pay raise given to the patrol union directly impacts the ranking officers union members.
Detective sergeants get 15 percent more than senior patrol officers, lieutenants get 15 percent more than detective sergeants and captains receive 15 percent more than lieutenants.
Also, the city has given the same raises — or pay freezes — to all of its unions for years.
That includes 1 percent raises to other unions for this year and next year though two unions had their raise for 2021 deferred to 2022 when the city was unsure about its finances.
Higher raises for police would result in the city making up those differences in future contracts with other unions.
Meanwhile, city council’s agenda, provided Friday, included an ordinance to sign a new three-year contract with the firefighters union at Wednesday’s meeting.
Limbian, however, said that was a mistake as a tentative contract hasn’t been reached.
“Negotiations are going well, and there are some final issues that have to be resolved,” he said. “The legislation went up prematurely.”
In May, both sides rejected a proposed three-year contract with 1 percent annual raises as well as 1.25 percent “pandemic lump sum” bonuses in the first two years.
The firefighters union’s last contract expired Dec. 31.