Dallas police and firefighters will see starting pay boosted to $60,000 and employees making more than that will receive 3-percent raises after a City Council vote Wednesday.
In an 11 to 3 decision, the Council decided to make the changes to the City Managers proposed 2017-2018 budget which is due for final approval later this month.
“We don’t have another tool to figure out how to help with recruiting other than to increase the starting salary. That’s what we’re doing,” said Councilman Adam McGough, who led negotiations for the amendment.
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Starting public safety pay was to increase in the proposed budget to $51,688. The Police department website says starting pay is currently $49,207. The average for 17 Texas cities compiled by the City of Dallas is $59,217. The new Dallas base beats current starting pay in Austin, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. The Dallas figure is similar to many North Texas suburbs but Plano remains higher at $67,644 and Denton at $65,136.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and two other Council Members voted against the increase. They said setting salaries is the job of the City Manager and a new round of salary negotiation was set for next year.
“This is really a dangerous precedent to negotiate salaries around the horse shoe,” said Councilman Lee Kleinman.
He said raises already granted over the past five years amount to an increase of around 25-percent.
“Did that stop the whining? Not for a minute. So anybody who has a child knows, when you give into a tantrum, you’re just enabling another tantrum,” Kleinman said.
Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata said the vote sends a message that should help with hiring and retention of officers and firefighters.
“What this said today is we value you, we want you and we want you to stay. And I think the officers are going to hear it and they’re going to stay,” Mata said.
The raise takes effect January 1, 2019.