FOP wants to divide Serpas’ last raise among officers

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 11:45pm

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.

12 Comments on this post:

By: idgaf on 5/18/10 at 10:55

Sure that wasn't his piece of the action for ripping off citizens/ producing revenue?

By: cannoneer2 on 5/19/10 at 12:52

Way to go Mayor Dean!!! Make that man a Governor!!! This sort of crap took place under McWherter, then Sundquist, then Bredesen. Make sure the big cheeses get theirs and to **** with everyone else!

By: govskeptic on 5/19/10 at 5:04

Top pay for cabinet and department heads in Tennessee and Nashville sure seems to destroy the "Public Service" part of these resumes. Unfortunately the pay never seems to be followed by results in most cases. The FOP is acting fast to reestablish itself as to who should run the police department. That tactic probably won't and shouldn't work as Metro begans to search for a new chief.

By: localboy on 5/19/10 at 7:14

".. 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."
Of those cities, isn't Charlotte the only one of comparable size and, presumably, similar department size? So Nashville's chief should be on the same pay scale as someone who oversees the departments in Houston and Chicago? And they went along with it...someone was just looking for an excuse to hand over the money.
So bogus.

By: global_citizen on 5/19/10 at 8:48

I'll freely admit I'm a Karl Dean fan. I've supported him during his campaign and every day he's been in office so far. But this was clearly a mistake. He can try to defend it if he chooses, but he would be wiser to admit it was a mistake and promise to be more contemplative in the future.

As for Serpas, it only confirms to me that he's all about himself. Low class, low character, and better off in New Orleans than Nashville. Good riddance.

By: fightcrib on 5/19/10 at 9:36

I agree with localboy, for once. Saying that the chief of police in Nashville should make as much as in cities like Miami and Chicago is ludicrous. Those citites are much, much bigger and hence the chief of police has more to deal with. Secondly, cost of living in those cities is much higher. I.E. compare the salary of a software engineer in Chicago vs. Nashville.

It makes me sick that this corrupt piece of Cajun scum spent his time having cops just set up speed traps around town just to generate revenue for Metro Police, and leaving the department making nearly as much as police chief's in larger cities. Go back to your corrupt city that's full of worthless fat lazy garbage people like you. Heckuva job, Serpas! Serpas and NOLA can fall off the face of the earth and go to worthless scum hell, for all I care.

By: fightcrib on 5/19/10 at 9:40

Serpas, why are you so fat? Overpaid Po'licechief Boy done been eathing too many shrimp Po' Boys. You should serioulsy join wait watchers. I think you can afford that with your corrupt-@ss high salary.

By: govskeptic on 5/19/10 at 10:25

The consultants come up with these cities as comparisons and the dept heads that contract with them let them get away with it. This applies to all type consultant contracts Metro uses for many various needs. It's time the Administration and council call them to tasks on these type comparsions!

By: Marymeet on 5/19/10 at 10:47

My eyebrows are in my hair, “Meanwhile, he told the FOP repeatedly that it wasn’t his place to strongly advocate for [pay] improvements for officers.”

If this allegation is true Serpas should have been run out of town on a rail. I know I'm old but who the heck IS suppose to advocate for his men and women if not him?

The chief in my home town went to bat for his men when ever possible. He took smaller raises to raise their pay as well. This is disgusting.

By: idgaf on 5/19/10 at 11:25

Say what you want about Mr. Slurphy and I will agree with you BUT remember it was Karl Dean that gave this guy a $50,000 raise in one year had he staid here for preying on the citizens. Thats about 30% in one year , a piece of the "action" he was bringing in..

By: fightcrib on 5/19/10 at 12:00

Chief Serpas looks like Bob's Big Boy. He belongs wearing red and white overalls with suspenders.

Fightcrib, BNA

By: dick658 on 5/19/10 at 6:42

It does not matter what he did or how he did it there is only one person responsible for this.........Mayor Dean should step up and take the responsibility for doing this. A lot of people that work for the Metro Govt. were laid off last year and some this year are not being replaced. The Police as well as all other employees have in the past 8 years been held to a higher expectation of job performance the ones that remained met the challenge and were denied their step raises and longevity so the Mayor could give Chief Surpass large raises. He started here in 2004 at 135k a year and in 6 years went to 205k while others lost their jobs or their earned and contracted raised and longevity pay what a shameful way to do hard working people.

Here is a challenge to any reporter not afraid of the system.......... Check and see how many others in leadership positions in the ENTIRE Govt. got raises in just the last 24 months. Make them famous print their names and the amount of their pay at the start of Mayor Deans term till now.