Certain Boston Police Department officers may receive a 25.4 percent pay increase over six years pending approval from Boston City Council, though some city officials believe the increase to be too large given the city’s budget.
The award proposal arbitrated by Timothy Buckalew and released by the City of Boston on Friday would raise the pay for members of the Boston Police Patrolman’s Association, which represents 1,447 officers, and would cost $80 million of tax revenue.
“The mayor [Boston Mayor Thomas Menino] believes the arbitration decision is too high and is not in the best interest of the city,” said John Guilfoil, spokesman for the mayor’s office.
After several negotiation sessions for the award, the city offered a 19.8 percent raise over the same period, according to a fact sheet from Boston’s Office of Labor Relations released on Friday.
Boston Police Department officials declined to comment on the raise proposal.
The City Council has 30 days to approve or deny the award. Mass. Rep. Martin Walsh and City Councilor John Connolly, who are both mayoral candidates, said the raise was too high because the city could not afford it.
Walsh said the terms of the award should still be negotiated further to find a middle ground between the BPPA demands and the city’s budget.
“The arbitrator’s award is out of line with the current economic environment and not in the best interests of the taxpayers,” Walsh said in a Monday press release. “The best thing for the City and the police is to get back to the bargaining table and agree to a deal that works for both sides.”
Connolly said the police do need a raise, but not as much as they are asking for.
“The city can responsibly afford a generous proposal, one that is fair to our police officers, but not one that will cost us over $80 million,” he said in a Wednesday statement. “I am confident that if the city and the patrolmen’s association come back with a reasonable compromise settlement, the City Council will approve it. But if not, and if this contract is presented to the City Council, I will vote no.”
The average earned income of a BPPA member in 2012 was more than $109,847, according to the fact sheet.
BPPA Secretary Patrick Rose said in a Sunday memo to union members that the proposed raise was a reasonable request that cost less money per member than an award deal approved for Boston Fire Department firemen in 2010 that is being paid out over five years.
“We need to take it upon ourselves to fight for what we are owed,” he said. “Remember, we are the good guys. We are the ones that champion neighborhood sports, we are the coaches, the mentors and alike, we are the ones that support neighborhood groups, organizations and Boston-area families. This is our city and we can’t afford to let outside interests, opinions and local media dictate city policy.”
Some residents said giving officers that large of a raise was too much of an additional burden on taxpayers.
“They do work hard, and maybe they do need a raise, but 25 percent is just too much,” said Marie Croisetu, 68, a resident of Brookline. “We all have to work to pay [taxes] for that money to go to them. They do very good, but we have to support our own families, too. It’s just too much.”
Sean Clarke, 22, a resident of Brighton, said the raise should wait until the city can afford to pay officers more.
“It’s a dangerous job, and yeah it’s totally worth what they [police] do, but it [the raise] is just not in the budget right now,” he said.
Daniel Coffin, 30, a resident of Boston, said police were due for a raise.
“They [police officers] have a dangerous job and their careers don’t typically last as long as other public employees,” he said. “I don’t care whether the raise is fair or not, but I can definitely say they’re a valuable service to the city and deserve something.”