City of Casper to Discuss Police Pay Freeze in November
During a tense exchange at a city council meeting on June 15, the issue of the pay freeze Casper police are experiencing was brought up by the president of the fraternal order of police in Casper, lodge six, Craig Burns.
Burns said it is right for city council to meet to discuss the pay freezes, however the lodge did not wish to give further comment for this piece.
Council member Steve Cathey said the police officers are lucky they are still employed due to the uncertainty in other businesses like mineral extraction.
"There are a heck of a lot of people in this city still, because of the turndown in the oil and gas businesses, who do not have jobs and have been laid off numerous times, then hired back, and laid off again in the last five years...all of the city employees have had a job through all of that time, they have not had 20% pay cut, before they were laid off, they have gone through none of the things that a large portion of this community has gone through, and they want to whine about more money."
Carter Napier, Casper city manager said that the reference to a pay freeze isn't entirely accurate.
"In my estimation a freeze is where nobody is getting any kind of salary improvements, and that's not the case, we still have promotions going on, we still have natural progression raises going on...at this point the only thing truly frozen is step increases, in the past we've had true freezes wherein none of those have taken place."
Napier said the council will reassess the issue of pay freezes in November, once the city has a better idea of what the budget will look like based on how much money the city will get from something like sales taxr.
Cathey said that what his son has been dealing with relates to why police officers aren't getting paid, as the county, and Wyoming as a whole, having been getting a lot less money from sales tax due to declines in the mineral industry.
"Look at what's happened to the tax revenue, we've had no sales tax and that's where those dollars to pay [Burns] come from, and the state is looking in the same financial bind and luckily they didn't set their distributions to us this year so we could use direct distributions for capital projects...otherwise there would be even less money in the general fund, because we'd still have to make those repairs."
While Burns came to city council to complain about the pay freeze, Cathey said he has heard from other city employees as well voicing a similar concern.