After a report on former Police Chief Ronal Serpas’ pay raise just before his exit to New Orleans, the president of the local Fraternal Order of Police presented his idea of what to do with that money.
Nashville Fraternal Order of Police released a statement Tuesday in which its president, Robert Weaver was quoted as saying, “Maybe the Mayor can give every officer under the rank of Captain a cut of the $30,000. Even if it is only $23 it would be worth it knowing it was a token of what we earned.”
On Monday, WSMV reported Serpas received a raise in March and was set to get another one come July.
According to Metro Human Resources, Serpas was making $173,427 just before March 1 when it rose to $195,000. He was set to make $205,000 after July 1, 2010.
In a prepared statement provided by a spokeswoman for Mayor Karl Dean, the mayor was quoted as saying, “Chief Serpas requested a raise as part of his annual review last fall. He presented us with some information comparing police chief salaries across several large cities. It was clear that Chief Serpas’ salary wasn’t on par with what his peers were being paid in other places.”
In the information Serpas provided to the mayor’s office, he compared his salary to those of police chiefs in Charlotte, Atlanta, Houston, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles. The average combined salary for those positions was $217,237, according to Serpas. That average didn’t include Los Angeles “due to widely different cost of living indexes.”
The mayor’s statement added that an arrangement was made to give the chief a two-part raise because “budget restraints” didn’t allow for it at the time he requested it.
According to the FOP, this year’s budget “called for a 2% onetime bonus for employees, not the 18% permanent raise Serpas was going to collect.”
“It is concerning that he would ask for this raise because of what the rest of the CEO Police Chief Club was making,” Weaver wrote. “Meanwhile, he told the FOP repeatedly that it wasn’t his place to strongly advocate for [pay] improvements for officers.”
HR confirmed that 18 other personnel in the police department of more than 1,300 received promotions in rank, which included pay increases, so far this fiscal year.
“I do believe that in order to retain high-quality department heads, they have to be paid a salary that is appropriate for their skill and profession,” Dean said in the statement. “Despite being called about a number of police chief jobs around the country, Chief Serpas made it clear that he had every intention of staying in Nashville. New Orleans, being his home, was the one exception.
“I believe that our police officers and other Metro government employees deserve to be rewarded for their work as well. And I am proud that we were able to present a budget that includes a 2 percent across-the-board bonus and restores longevity pay.”
The Mayor’s Office did not respond directly to remarks made in the FOP’s statement.