DOTHAN, Ala. (WSFA) - As Dothan city leaders work through the final budget details, there have been questions about if law enforcement will see a pay raise.
“This is a very important and sensitive topic,” said Mayor Mark Saliba.
That’s why Mayor Saliba says the city is taking a closer look at how they’re paying employees.
“Every commissioner and every citizen realizes how important it is to have our public safety people paid,” said Mayor Saliba.
Dothan officer salaries begin at over $36,000 annually compared to Tuscaloosa Police who start at $47,000. Commissioners still have to vote on the final budget. That’s expected at the city’s next commission meeting in September. Although there are built in salary increases - 3 percent cost of living adjustment and up to 3 1/2 percent increase based on performance - there is nothing in the budget on base salary increase.
What is included in the budget is a study to determine what the pay bump should be.
“They’ll look at regional comparisons and what those pay classifications are and compare,” said Kevin Cowper, City Manager. “Determine what we should be paying in order to be comparable.”
Mayor Saliba says this will give the commission a chance to look over a plan for pay increases - across the board. Something the commission hasn’t seen before. He says even after the budget vote, that doesn’t mean pay discussions are done until next budget season.
“Once that’s presented to us, then we’ll have that to be voted on and we’re ready to do that whenever the plan comes over,” said Saliba.
Mayor Saliba says the study is expected to take a few months. Once they get the information, he says they hope to implement any changes right away.
Dothan Police Chief Steve Parrish said the department will abide by whatever the city moves forward with the budget. He is appreciative of their support. He says the department will continue to provide the same level of protection and service citizens have been accustomed to.