Plymouth Council Members Voice Concern with Mid-Year Police Salary Increase

Plymouth Police officers are a step closer to getting a raise, but not without some concerns from city council members. An updated salary ordinance was introduced to the city council Monday by City Attorney Sean Surrisi. “Rather than have multiple amendments to the salary ordinance for this year, it’s combining all of those past amendments into this document,” he explained. The ordinance would increase patrol officers’ salary to $52,500, effective July 1.

Council member Jeff Houin said that while he’s in favor of the raise, he doesn’t think it should be done now, in the middle of the budget year. “We’re in the process of a citywide salary review,” he said. “We discussed this last year, when we passed the 2017 salary ordinance, about not doing ad hoc salary increases. We had some requests in the police department. We had requests in the clerk-treasurer’s department. And we said at the time that we need to take the time to review citywide and do it all as part of a data-driven process.”

While council members recently approved a pay raise for the fire department, Houin says the situation was different. “The information we were presented with showed that there was an emergency, that we were in danger of not being able to provide paramedic services because we couldn’t fill the positions and have paramedics to provide the services,” he explained. “What we heard from the police chief recently is that for the one open position in the police department, we had 33 applicants, and 26 of them qualified to move on to the next level. So what that tells me is that we do not have an emergency trying to fill positions in the police department.”

A motion was made to suspend the rules and pass the ordinance on all three readings Monday. But it failed to receive the required unanimous vote, due to opposition from Houin and Shawn Grobe. That means the ordinance will be considered for final approval at the next council meeting.

If it passes, an additional appropriation will be needed to fund the pay increases. Since an additional appropriation request already needs to be advertised for funding related to the city’s Community Crossings grant application, the council voted to go ahead and advertise both requests at once, with Houin, Grobe, and Shiloh Fonseca opposing.