Updated: 10/07/2013 10:19 AM KSTP.com By: Jay Kolls
The St. Paul Police Federation has launched a television and social media campaign asking the public to call Mayor Chris Coleman.
The union has worked without a contract for 10 months and has an aggressive message for the Mayor through television and social media. The head of the St. Paul Police Federation, Dave Titus, tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS "the Mayor needs to realize we are in the bottom 20 percent in pay among all Metro area police departments. Twenty-seven other departments have higher average salaries for patrol officers." Titus says this is a disturbing lag in pay that will manifest years down the road with difficulty attracting good, qualified candidates to be officers on the street.
Mayor Coleman's office told us he was out of town and unavailable for an on-camera interview, but in a statement the Mayor says, in part, with "the total compensation our police officers receive our department is in the top five jurisdictions in the Metro area." The Mayor's statement also says other city departments have accepted the same pay increase offer and to "go beyond that for just one division of our city workers would not only be unfair to other city workers, but would also stretch taxpayer dollars well beyond our budget."
Federation President, Dave Titus, says the Mayor's statements are misleading because the city compares the current contract with other police departments, but does not include some of the same information from those other departments "which is not comparing apples to apples." Right now, the city offered the 600 police officers a 1.5 percent pay hike this year, with a 2 percent increase in 2014 and 2015. The Federation wants a pay increase that will make it competitive with the highest paid police departments in the Metro.