Issues Over Officer Pay Raises Leads To Tense Moments At Meeting

By: Dara Rees Email
By: Dara Rees Email

The issue of pay raises for Hazard police officers led to some tense moments at the city commission meeting.

Some officers say they can barely survive on their salary.

Mayor Bill Gorman says if they give officers a raise they would have to pay all city employees more and that would be impossible right now.

The Hazard Police Department says they were promised a raise after cutting back overtime for about two months.

Mayor Bill Gorman says the city never promised anything.

The city commission meeting turned into a yelling match as citizens found out there was no raise for Hazard police officers in the city budget.

City officials say the police department went more than 250,000 dollars over budget, and they asked them to make cuts.

Some former officers say it was those cuts that forced them to find work elsewhere.

“I think it's a shame that nobody can support their families working for the city. I don't think anywhere from 4 to 500 dollars every two weeks is suitable for putting your life on the line doing your job,” Former Officer Kyle Morgan said.

City officials would not comment on camera, but Mayor Gorman says he is happy the police department was able to stay under budget since their overtime was cut.

“I want the public to know that we are going to do anything and every thing we can to provide the most adequate services we have and we will continue to do so,” Chief Ronnie Bryant said.

Mayor Gorman says the city has a very good police department and he supports them.

“They are working as professionally as they can with their budget and all the restrictions that they have to provide the best services for the city, and city employees. We will continue working with them until we resolve our problems,” Chief Bryant said.

City officials say they may look at raises in the future for city employees, but right now, they can't afford to give it to them.

Officers say their colleagues in other eastern Kentucky cities do better.

The assistant police chief of the London Police Department says their officers start out at about 11 to 12 dollars per hour after they finish their time at the academy.

Hazard police officers make less than 9 dollars per hour after the academy.

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  • by balanced Location: fair on Jun 4, 2008 at 07:01 AM
    as i understand it the raises were from existing budget, by making concessions in other areas of the police budget. if this was really a budget decision, why wasn't the police given an opportunity see their own budget and work with it? how can janitors make more money than police? high turnover doesn't grow experience needed to be effective in such a dangerous profession in a community with serious drug and crime issues. hazard is looking like a scary place to live when selected people can run wild endangering others and there aren't enough officers sworn to protect.
  • by fair Location: balanced on Jun 3, 2008 at 08:47 PM
    the thing to know , is the raises would come from the exsisting budget, not new monies. City hall is very unorganized and doesn't know where half the tax payers money goes. Any new equipment the police gets comes from drug money.
  • by Wow Location: Richmond on Jun 3, 2008 at 08:30 PM
    4-500 a month for a small town police officer is pretty good. IF they dont like the pay quit or move some where else. After all it is a job they are not special people. They can and are replaced regularly in richmond just do it there as well. 4-500 a week I tell ya why dont they go get a factory job that brings in only $190 a week after taxes then they would knwo what not much money is. All the cops buying new tvs and fixing up their personal cars then cry they cant pay bills.
  • by cindy Location: hazard on Jun 3, 2008 at 12:44 PM
    Question:Should the mayor or should the police chief make decisions on who is arrested in Hazard?
  • by Unknown Location: Hazard on Jun 3, 2008 at 11:10 AM
    The police officers were promised a pay raise if they cut the overtime and now they get nothing all because of a incident of some rich kids breaking the law. The Mayor didn't even give the Chief a chance to speak about the raise. The Mayor told him to take it up with the city manager. This is just an outrage and we the people should be able to do something about it.
  • by Penny on Jun 3, 2008 at 10:16 AM
    I don't know why anyone is acting surprised here.......have you not been keeping up with the news???? The police arrest some high school students drinking and they are not getting raises. Police are supposed to follow the law except when Hazard High School Students are involved......I got it can't anyone else?
  • by CC Location: KY on Jun 3, 2008 at 08:30 AM
    This is exactly why I believe there should be term limits for ALL elected officials. Two terms and get out. When you allow someone to stay in office that long, they gain too much power. This is why our country has the term limit on our presidents.
  • by tyler Location: vicco on Jun 3, 2008 at 07:06 AM
    Here is an excellent case for to many chiefs and not enough indians---who is really in charge and who really thinks they are or should be?
  • by shane Location: Hazard on Jun 3, 2008 at 06:56 AM
    Has this man really reached the age that he just needs to go? I know that in the past he has done a lot for Eastern KY but that was in the past.
  • by DEB Location: KY on Jun 3, 2008 at 05:54 AM
    its a shame that the police officers in ky have to live on such low wages, yet they put their very lives on the line for each of us every day!
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