Charlotte Mecklenburg Police officers will get bigger raises next year under a proposed budget revision unanimously endorsed by the City Council Wednesday in a preliminary vote.
City Manager Marcus Jones originally proposed 6.5 percent raises when he presented his budget earlier on May 7. That fell short of the 15 percent raise that CMPD officers have been seeking. The council appears willing to do more and asked Jones to look for a way to increase that.
Jones's new proposal would give officers with up to four years experience 12 percent raises. Most other officers would get raises of 7 to 9.5 percent, except for those with 12 or more years on the force. They would get smaller raises of just 4.5 percent.
Jones said the changes would add about $500,000 to the budget. He still has to figure out how to pay for it, with new revenues or budget cuts elsewhere.
Some city council members asked Jones to look for a way to raise that number as well. District 6 council member Tariq Bokhari said officers at the top pay grade make up about one-third of the force.
"Theoretically, these are some of our best officers. These are the ones that should be serving as a role model for some of the new folks," Bokhari said. "So how do you tell them that this is — maybe it's not extraordinary — but how is it more than just status quo. How do you explain that to them?"
Jones said he had heard similar concerns. But he noted that the proposed 4.5 percent raise was more than the 1.5 percent officers at the top step would have gotten this year without the larger raises in this budget. He also noted that the budget includes a new "senior police officer" program that could bring additional raises. And he suggested the city could devise some kind of one-time bonus — though that would cost $900,000.