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Mayor, City Council plan police salary discussions

March 01, 2001

Mayor, City Council plan police salary discussions



By DAN KULIN

dank@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown's Mayor and City Council are expected to discuss a new pay scale for city police next month, but it's unclear whether that discussion will be in public or behind closed doors.

During Tuesday's council meeting, Councilman Alfred W. Boyer said he "would not feel comfortable discussing these numbers in open session" and wants to hold deliberations in a closed session.

Boyer asked the other council members whether they would prefer to meet in public or private.

Councilman William M. Breichner said because negotiations with the police officers' union are ongoing, council talks about the pay scale should be done in private.

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Council members Susan Saum-Wicklein and Lewis C. Metzner disagreed.

They said a new pay scale is not an issue being negotiated with the union, and is instead a matter being brought to the council by the police chief.

"It is clearly an open-session discussion," Saum-Wicklein said.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said the topic will be scheduled for a closed meeting, which will prompt a vote on the matter as closing a meeting requires a council vote.

Councilman J. Wallace McClure did not voice his opinion.

City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said Police Chief Arthur Smith is to meet with the Mayor and Council on March 6 to discuss a new pay scale for police officers.

Smith has said pay scale revisions are needed to address current and potential problems with hiring and retention.

A majority of council members said earlier this month they would support an increase to the starting salary for city police officers and a new pay scale to increase the pay for other officers.

The city and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3373, which represents 77 city police officers, are negotiating a new contract.

The union's last contract expired June 30, 2000, and officers are working under the terms of that contract until a new contract is signed.

Officers with the rank of sergeant and above are not in the union.

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