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Herron doesn’t see raises in Wheeling city budget

Updated: Tuesday, March 4 2014, 06:02 PM EST

WTOV9.com

 
WHEELING, W.Va. -- As part of the budget process, Wheeling City Manager Robert Herron said he allows employee groups to submit budget requests so they have input in the process.
 
Well this year, Herron received two letters, one from city police and one from city firefighters.

 
City officials have had a few conversations about the level of pay increase, as well as benefits.
 
“I have to submit back a balanced budget and right now the budget does not include pay raise for city employees at this time,” Herron said. “It does include some changes in health insurance.”

Wheeling’s police officers’ union requested a 15 percent pay increase.
 
Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger thinks it’s too high for a lump-sum increase, but does think they should all work together to achieve some sort of improvement.
 
He said law enforcement agencies all over the country struggle with turnover and retention.
 
“But I do think in the state of West Virginia, police officers are not paid as to where they should be,” Schwertfeger said.
 
He said he is concerned that it does affect recruitment, especially when they are competing with other local departments that may pay more or provide better benefits.
 
"But it is a concern and it ends up costing me a lot more money when you have shortages like we have right now," Schwertfeger said. "A couple vacancies and maybe some more in the near future.”

He said he understands the city manager recognizes the issues they face, but he also knows it isn’t easy to balance the budget.
 
Schwertfeger said sergeants in West Virginia are paid approximately $15,000-$20,000 less per year than sergeants in other states.

 
"I am an advocate for public safety pay scales," he said. "In other words, police department and fire, you know, having a separate pay scale for that municipality, and currently Wheeling doesn’t do that.”

Schwertfeger said employees are the most valuable resources and he strongly feels that Wheeling police should be given consideration.
 
Herron said right now the budget does not include any wage increase.
 
He said when the fiscal year ends in June, they may consider talking about it again.

Herron doesn’t see raises in Wheeling city budget


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