The Paradise Valley Town Council is continuing to discuss salary increases for the town’s police force.
The council, Chief Peter Wingert and new Paradise Valley CFO Lindsey Duncan talked about a compensation plan for Paradise Valley Police Department officers during an April 14 study session. On April 1, officers were given an immediate bump in pay to bring them up to market value. Now, the council aims to ensure their pay is sustained moving forward.
A new placement guide, born from several meetings and discussions, will bring the average base salary of officers 12% above market based on total years of service. For the command staff, their salaries will be based on their years in the position. For commander positions, the maximum of the range will be 4% above market and 10% for sergeant positions. The average increase for all sworn personnel is 15%.
The estimated cost of the pay bump for the remainder of fiscal year 2021-22 is $106,000.
The minimum salary for an officer is $70,000 per year, with a maximum of $94,074 in the new model. For corporals, that would be $96,896 and $105,881. Sergeants will now command a minimum of $109,058 annually, with a cap of $119,170. High-ranking commanders will earn a minimum of $133,127 with a maximum of $14,765.
Town Council and staff members say this will keep salaries competitive after a study looked at pay for officers across the Valley in cities such as Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Mesa, Peoria, Scottsdale and Tempe.
Moving forward, officers will receive a fixed rate of pay based on the time spent in a position, up to 11 years of service, though steps will be taken periodically to adjust for inflation. Merit and performance-based increases will also be addressed moving forward, according to Duncan. Adjustments will be determined in the upcoming FY2023 budget, which she is due to present in the coming months.
No vote was held during the April 14 study session.
Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner addressed Wingert during the study session and said the Town Council has a “unanimous direction to make sure that we’re paying our officers appropriately and ensure you have the tools you need to make sure that we continue to have the finest police department in the state.”
Bien-Willner also expressed “the appreciation we have for all of our professional staff. It’s been a very challenging time for those serving the public, particularly first responders.”
He thanked the whole council for its “steadfast commitment” to public safety and acknowledged that there is still room for growth.
“There are always opportunities for improvement across the organization, but we’re glad this was brought forward,” he said.
The decision to increase pay for police officers this April came after the force endured stagnant pay for over a decade, which made recruiting and retaining employees difficult. The town boasts approximately 100 full-time employees, with the largest majority working in the police department.
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