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Springfield Police Department officers are in line for salary increases.
SBJ photo by Wes Hamilton
Springfield Police Department officers are in line for salary increases.

City renews police, fire collective bargaining agreements

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Negotiations between city officials and union representatives have resulted in pay increases for Springfield police officers and firefighters in each of the next two years.

Last night, City Council members unanimously supported separate collective bargaining agreements with the Springfield Police Officers Association and the Southern Missouri Professional Firefighters Local 152. Both amendments fund merit steps for all ranks, said city Human Resources Director Darla Morrison.

In amending the current union agreement for the Springfield Police Department signed July 1, 2017, officers and corporals are in line for a 3 percent pay increase in two steps – a 1.5 percent bump effective July 8 and a 1.5 percent gain effective Jan. 6, 2019. Morrison said the parties agreed to a 1 percent increase for sergeants in the top step of their salary grade.

For example, she said the new officer pay rate upon completing the six-month police academy will be $38,143 per year.

“This amendment outlines the agreed upon economic package to reflect pay improvements in fiscal year 2019,” she told council before the vote.

Councilwoman Kristi Fulnecky said she supported the pay hikes to make the tough jobs in the city more attractive to new hires.

“The pay is so important for recruiting people,” she said before registering her vote of approval. “The last I looked at the U.S. census, the average annual household income in Missouri was around $45,000. And we’re paying $35,000 to $38,000 for people who are getting shot at and running into burning buildings. This is such an important job – your life is on the line. I really think we need to get up to the median household income or greater in the future.”

According to the agreed upon economic package, salary increases will be partially funded by savings from police recruit uniform expenses in fiscal 2018. The amendments to the agreement with the police union are effective through June 30, 2020, according to the bill.

With the firefighters’ union, city officials agreed to provide a 2 percent pay increase for fire captains in 2018, for example, to $45,571 a year from $44,678 annually. In 2019, Morrison said the agreement spells out a 3.56 percent salary increase to the top step for all fire union ranks.

However, Morrison said starting firefighter pay would go unchanged at $34,046 a year.

She said both unions ratified the respective bargaining agreements last week following several meetings with city staff in recent months.

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