LEADWOOD – Leadwood police officers asked the mayor and aldermen to consider a pay raise and to reinstate a stipend that helped pay for their boots and winter coats at Monday night’s Board of Aldermen’s meeting.
Sgt. Shawn Eudy told the group that they have the lowest salary in the area and Leadwood is the only city that does not provide benefits for the families.
“Most officers not only have academy training,” Eudy said, “but also have a college education. It is an embarrassment to tell someone what we make. Several of our officers are on food stamps, not because they want to be, but because that is what they have to do.
“I feel we have good officers in the police department and I would like for them to stay, but we have to look at taking care of our families. We have to have a job that pays us enough to take care of our families.”
Canine officer Eric Smith added that with winter coming, many officers need boots and a winter coat.
Officers discussed holiday pay as something they would also like to see addressed by the board. They told the board that when city workers have a paid day off, the police do not get the holiday pay unless they had been scheduled to work on that day. If they work a holiday, they get time and a half, but if they are not scheduled to work, they do not get anything.
“It doesn’t make sense that police don’t get paid holidays if they don’t work.”
Alderman John Vickers said he thought it was the standard for police to either get a paid holiday or comp time.
Mayor Dennis Parks began by saying he understood that there was a problem and the city will do what they can to remedy the salary situation.
“This is not a reprimand, but I like to follow the chain of command,” the mayor said. “I’m not scolding you, but I would have liked it if you took this matter to your chief and he then took it to the appropriate alderman, Ken Meinarshagen, who would in turn bring it up to the board.”
Parks continued by saying that this was a fairly new board and there were some things that they still didn’t know about. He did confirm that at one point in time wages were higher than what they are currently, but he doesn’t know when nor how they were reduced.
“We lost a lot of records when we lost our chief (the late Jerry Hicks). There were inventories and when and were we bought coats and boots. As far as wages, I don’t know when they were lowered, but at one time they were at least $10 an hour.
“We want to give you a raise,” Parks said. “Bare with us. We appreciate you and want to keep you here.”
The mayor and board agreed the officers’ wages were too low and need to be raised and told those present that they would be looking into it.
The board did agree to provide a $300 stipend for each full-time officer to purchase boots and winter coats.
It was also brought to the board’s attention that the situation with stray animals and animals running loose was not improving.
Parks said despite repeated warnings, people are just not following a city ordinance that says owners must purchase city tags for their dogs and cats. The tags cost $5 and owners must show proof of rabies vaccinations for the animals.
Parks said that as of Jan. 12, police will begin ticketing people who are in violation of the ordinance.
In other matters, Police Chief Dale Newman was given the go-ahead to purchase $250 worth of ammunition and approval was given for the clerk to purchase 2,000 case folders at a cost of $349.
There was a brief discussion of a system that would allow people to pay for tickets online and to bond out using their credit cards. The board tabled any further action on the matter until a representative from the company is present to tell them more about it.
The board approved minutes from the last meeting and from the last special meeting, approved expenses and adjourned.
The next board meeting will be 6 p.m. Dec. 17 at the Leadwood Firehouse. The meetings are open to the public.
Sherry Greminger is managing editor and may be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 115 or at email@example.com