Pay freeze challenges police department in Olive Branch - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Pay freeze challenges police department in Olive Branch

By Chip Washington - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

OLIVE BRANCH, MS (WMC-TV) - The City of Olive Branch is freezing pay raises for all city employees. But Police Chief Don Gammage said Thursday that is creating a challenge to the police department to both keep and recruit officers.

"Its difficult," he said. "Here at the police department, we're trying to do something that's going to attract people to stay here, and also come here because its competitive out there."

Olive Branch Mayor Sam Rikard says he's very aware of what money means for employees.  That's why he instituted a pay scale several years ago, to keep experienced workers.         

Rikard recommended to the Olive Branch Board of Alderman that all employees deserve to get raises.

"Whether they're police officers, firefighters, pick up trash or they work in the park, they provide a service and they need to be compensated fairly for it," Rikard said. "The board chose not to give any raises at all."

Alderman Don Tullos says board members are not absolutely saying 'no' to raises, but are instead taking a wait and see attitude.  They are waiting to see if the Mayor's projected tax revenues turn out to be real.

"They didn't lose income, they just didn't get the raise at this time, but we are going to reconsider them as soon as we get tax numbers in for the first quarter," Tullos said.

Gammage said whether officers get raises or not, protecting the citizens is their primary focus and that will not change, regardless of politics.

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