Fire and police might see full salary increase this year

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The Meridian City Council has yet to finalize how it will distribute pay raises for entry and mid-career firefighters and police officers. In a work session Tuesday, the council went back and forth on how to distribute those raises.

"We did put the money in the budget for the police and fire to have a raise. We found out we have to come back and make a resolution to make that raise effective," said Houston.

Council members planned to issue the money in two installments but may lean towards releasing the pay raises all upfront before the end of this year.

"What can we do to help make sure our police chief has everything he needs as opposed to paying overtime? If we can go ahead and maybe instead of two tiers do one tier. Have that money in place so we can actively recruit and have extra bodies on the ground to go ahead and start this holiday season," said Houston.

When raises are in place, the council will look at the effect it has on salary compression. The council met with researchers who conducted the salary survey for the city.

"We make the suggestion that you address the lower paid positions. When you give them a raise, they come closer to what the mid-level positions are being paid," said Claudette Jones.

The city of Meridian addressed the lower paid entry level fire and police officers to bring them to a more competitive salary.

Council President Kim Houston says there was a need in recruiting and retaining professionals in that area. Houston says they will adjust salaries accordingly in the future.

"We did the salary study. It is letting us know more about where we are as it relates to salaries. There is still a lot to do," said Houston.