Committee to Review Mayor’s Salary Plan | News

JONESBORO — Mayor Harold Copenhaver’s proposed new pay package for police and fire will go to Jonesboro City Council’s Finance and Administration Committee.

The mayor announced plans to raise starting salaries for entry-level officers and firefighters from $35,190 to $42,000 a year to recruit more candidates. That’s a 19.2% increase in starting salary.

While new recruits are the targets of the higher salaries, current officers earning less than the $42,000 minimum would also see their salaries increased to the new minimum, Bill Campbell, the city’s director of communications, said Friday. A headline in Friday’s edition of The sun may have given the mistaken impression that Copenhagen was seeking 19% raises for all employees, Campbell said.

Campbell said city officials expect to make further revisions to the police and firefighter compensation plan for the 2023 budget.

The Arkansas Legislature provided police officers across the state with one-time $5,000 stipends.

Salaries for senior officers and firefighters, such as sergeants, lieutenants, captains and battalion chiefs, would increase by 1% under the plan.

Police Chief Rick Elliott and Fire Chief Kevin Miller both said it has been difficult to fill vacancies lately.

The higher salaries are also intended to keep Jonesboro competitive with other law enforcement and fire service entities, Copenhaver said.

According to the salary resolution, the salary increase will add $485,769 to the city’s 2022 operating budget.

If the committee approves the resolution on Tuesday, it is expected to go to the full council on May 3.

The committee will meet at 4 p.m. at the Civic Center, 300 S. Church St.