The Richmond Register

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June 18, 2014

Police chief questions pay grades

RICHMOND — Richmond Police Chief Larry Brock questioned the city’s new pay-grade and classification plan as as the city commission heard first reading Tuesday afternoon of an ordinance containing it.

The pay scale is a way for the city to measure the value of a specific job without looking at who hold a position, according to the city’s human resources office.

At the bottom of the pay scale is Grade 1, with a minimum salary of $15,000. Each successive grade boosts pay by $1,200, up to Grade 50 with minimum pay of $73,800.

In the proposed plan, no current jobs are listed as Grade 1, and only the city manager’s job was listed as Grade 50.

The scale also lists midpoint and maximum pay for each grade.

Brock said the new plan ranks several jobs in the police department – lieutenant, sergeant, patrolman, etc. – lower than they are being paid.

In the proposed pay scale, lieutenant is ranked at Grade 20, with a minimum pay of $37,800 and a maximum of $51,141. However, Brock said the base pay he is allowed to give lieutenants is $46,342, which he said better relates to Grade 27.

Why put a lieutenant at Grade 20 with a salary cap of $51,148 when that only gives the opportunity for $5,000 addition money, he asked. Why not classify the rank at the current pay level?

The scale represent an average pay by Kentucky cities, according to the HR office.

Brock said most cities pay their police officers more than the average and more than what Richmond pays. That is why his department has lost a number of people over the past five years, the chief said.

He would like to pay his officers more so the city can keep them after paying for their training and giving them experience, Brock said.

“We just want to be competitive and keep the good people we have,” Brock said.

The chief asked if the city has a plan to increase employee pay.

Mayor Jim Barnes he didn’t think the city could increase salaries with its current revenue stream. Controlling expenses is easier than controlling revenue, he said.

Why classify police jobs at lower levels if officers could not look forward to pay increases, Brock asked.

The mayor and commissioners made no promises but agreed to meet with Brock in a work session to discuss the issue further.

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