Committee recommends that pay for Florence public safety employees be compared to other departments

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FLORENCE, Ala. – Just over a month ago a bombshell was dropped on the Florence City Council Public Safety Committee and mayor. The police and fire departments are losing employees at an alarming rate because of pay and benefits. The groups sat back down Monday to discuss solutions.

The tone of the meeting Monday was quite different from August 23. The initial shock of losing so many city employees due to pay has soaked in.

Committee members have looked toward finding solutions over the last five weeks.

David Bradley, Florence City Council Dist. 3

“When we are losing quality people that have already been working at the department to other agencies, it's just not a good thing. We need to keep those people, we need to recruit the best,” said committee chairman and District 3 Councilman David Bradley.

Since August, the Florence Police Department has made several in-house changes. Recruitment and testing to become a police officer in the city has been revamped and not as rigid.

But still leaves the burning issue of pay among both police and fire. The committee has recommended the mayor hire a consulting firm to see how the city’s pay scale truly compares to other departments.

“You’re going to get a very valid answer,” stated Florence Police Chief Ron Tyler. “You’re going to get good information, and people who know how to compare one organization, one city with another, and all of the variables that go into a compensation package.”

Councilman David Bradley said once a study is complete, they can then look for a way of funding pay raises if needed.

Chief Tyler said he likes the trajectory the process is going, and hopes they can find a permanent solution before things get worse.