Washingtonville council OKs police pay raises

WASHINGTONVILLE – Village council passed wage increases for the police department unanimously Monday with an emergency clause, but not until after former councilmember Renee Jackson wanted it done incrementally, over time.

“Why the emergency?” Jackson asked, “have you looked at the budget?”

She said it took a long time build up the water and sewer operating money when she was on council while pointing to two sinkholes that will need repaired.

One sinkhole, developing by her residence on state Route 14, had not been called to council’s attention until she brought it up.

“It’s by my house, it’s going to be thousands of dollars,” she said.

The pay-raise legislation will increase the starting patrolman wage from $9 to $12.50 per hour; corporal from $9.25 to $13 per hour; sergeant from $9.50 to $13.50 per hour; assistant chief from $10 to $13.75 per hour; and chief from $11 to $14 per hour.

It will cost the village about $24,000 annually.

Mayor Will Jones said previously, “We’ve talked about this for three months.”

After the meeting he said it shouldn’t hurt the village and Councilman Al Vignon said, “We’re so far below what other departments pay …”

Jackson said she wasn’t against the raises but wanted council to “do it in increments.”

Vignon said, “We’re trying to pass legislation … they need to be paid more.”

Jackson said, “You need to do it in steps.”

She added, “You don’t have to do such a drastic increase.”

Jones said, “Council is well aware of what it’s going to cost” and asked council if it wanted to table it.

“I can’t make a motion,” he said and Vignon said they can study it a little more but if you want patrolman and want to keep them …”

Jackson said she was trying to slow it down and Jones repeated his request, “table it or pass it.”

Councilman Jim Smith said there was $22,000 in the state highway fund, but Jones kept the issues separate and Council President Ramona Custer said, “Our thing is we’ve got to pay them.”

Vignon said, “This should be about the police, not the streets.”

Custer said, “We’ve talked about it long enough” and made a motion for the police raises.

In other business, Councilman Herman Frank said the Washingtonville VFW Post donated 12 new flags and six poles to village and Franks thanked them.

Council also approved the hiring of Elizabeth Perry as a part-time officer on the department.

Sgt. Bill Beaver said Perry works for the East Palestine Police Department and has been with the Salem Police Department for about three months.

“She has all the required training to be a peace officer,” Beaver said.

Also, resident Gary Newton commended the village for doing a “good job … and I think you guys need some praise for it. You’re trying to do the best you can.”