WHAT DOES it take for Bellaire police officers to get a pay raise?
That is the question that has gone on all too long in the All-American Town. Full-time officers have realized just one pay hike in the last decade. That is outrageously unfair.
Bellaire Police Chief Mike Kovalyk has repeatedly lobbied village council for a $1 per hour raise for the full-time officers in his department.
We believe Chief Kovalyk is most reasonable in his request.
His plea appeared to have fallen on receptive ears when Councilman Jerry Fisher motioned to award the police department the bump in pay. John Leonard with the Board of Public Affairs asked that the full-time service employees be included in the motion.
No problem. The motion passed 5-0 and all that was left to do was take the matter to committee to draft an ordinance making the pay increase official.
Unfortunately for Bellaire police officers, frustrating status quo remains. Fisher's successful motion has yet to be made into an ordinance.
Kovalyk reported that while he was on vacation he heard an ordinance had been drawn up that the police department was going to be excluded. The chief said the service department was going to get its dollar an hour raise and not the police.
Fortunately, a cooler head prevailed as Law Director Ed Sustersic said that because of the obvious dissension and apparent anger among certain village employees, he wasn't going to proceed with drafting the ordinance until the situation was resolved for all parties.
We commend Sustersic on his prudent decision, one we hope gets all parties on the same page.
The problem apparently lies with how village employees are paid. The service employees are paid out of the water department's budget which currently has enough to cover the increase. The police department's finances, however, are governed by the general fund, which is not as healthy.
We have no issues with a pay bump for service employees, IF the police department gets their just increase.
If the method of funding is at the root of the issue, we suggest tapping into the water fund to quench the salary thirst of a most-deserving police force.