Tuesday in a 6 to 1 vote, San Angelo city council ended the contract involving police pay with the San Angelo Police Department.
"We do not want to abandon this but we cannot negotiate with a party that is unwilling to negotiate in good faith,” Sgt. Baldwin said.
Matt Baldwin, a Sergeant and 22 year veteran of the San Angelo Police Department is also part of the team that has been negotiating pay rates with the city.
"We are willing to negotiate,” Baldwin said.
Sgt. Baldwin thanked the city council for honoring the 1 percent pay raises that will go into effect in October, earlier this year, but called for more answers from the city.
"Because of the raise honored back in April, the consensus of the police department is this; we’re not greedy. We're not selfish. We want to take into account the rest of this city, we are not the only employees that work down here,” Baldwin said.
The main issue, whether or not to restore the step program, or small raises spread out through a certain number of years.
"We never came to negotiations this year with the intent on getting a raise, we never asked for a raise. Our number one priority, our number one goal, was to reinitiate the step program. That's it,” Baldwin said.
"SACOP side continued to say they did not want a raise, they did not want a raise this time, they just wanted the steps back. Our side kept saying if you get the steps back that is a raise,” Lisa Marley, Human Resources for the City of San Angelo said.
The step program was set several years ago and frozen in 2014. This however creates an issue when it comes to an ongoing problem for SAPD
"We're trying to retain officers,” Sgt. Baldwin said.
San Angelo is compared to 13 benchmark cities, Midland being one of them. In Midland, an officer is paid $51,396 a year while in San Angelo an officer's salary at the same level is $49,911 that's around a $1,500 difference, or an extra $120 a month, plus other incentives that add on to the base pay. Agencies from surrounding areas and beyond often contact San Angelo police officers in hopes of recruiting them. Here's why it's a problem, essentially the San Angelo Police Department is paying big bucks to put recruits through a massive amount of training then upon completion, other agencies come in and take the final product resulting in a loss.
Jim Turner, a San Angelo citizen, spoke out about the issue saying things for civil servants haven’t changed much here since the 1950s.
“And the world has changed a lot since then, they way we have to deal with the profession of public safety has to change. If we're not going to do meet and confer we still need to come up with a good edition and supplement of civil service. Meet and confer was implemented to address the issues and they're still there,” Turner said.
"With the goal at the end of the 3 year contract to get them as close to 95 percent as we could," Marley said.
That contract is now up. The City says San Angelo police officers make 92 percent of what their peers make in those benchmark cities.
With the contract ending, several positions at the police department are in jeopardy. City council will decide on repealing the meet and confer process at a later date.