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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Bedford public safety personnel and elected to receive 7 percent raise

BEDFORD - SEPTEMBER 19, 2023 - The Bedford City Council is considering a 7 percent raise for public safety personnel for police, firefighters, and elected officials in the 2024 budget.

The civilian employees will receive a 5 percent raise.

The proposed pay raises was presented at the Bedford city council meeting with the city council voting up to the second passage, the final approval will be taken at the next meeting in October.

The City of Bedford continues to face high turnover especially within the Bedford Police Department with three officers leaving the department since July 2023.

Turnover has been attributed to a variety of reasons. Many employees taking different career paths, and/or seeking better pay are two popular reasons for the city police officers continue to leave.

In the fire department have lost a few firefighters due to better pay including to the neighboring Monroe Fire Protection District.

The city employees did not receive but only two pay increases under former Bedford Mayor Shawna Girgis who served three terms for a total of 12 years.

The fiscal conservative Republican city council determined the city could not afford to give raises during this period of time.

In 2020, the city employees received a three percent pay raise, however did not receive a pay raise in 2021 in Mayor Sam Craig's first term as mayor. The fulltime employees did receive a stipend from COVID funds.

In 2022, the city gave a few employees an 9 and 10 percent pay increase, with most city employees receiving a five percent pay raise.

This meant the city employees did not receive pay raises for 11 years.

Both the police and fire departments receive overtime compensation with the policies different within each department.

For firefighters they work 24 hours on and 48 hours off. To qualify for overtime firefighters must exceed working 212 hours over a 28 day period. This policy makes it difficult to bring money home to support families.

For other city departments they may have to take a day off or comp time to keep the city employee from receiving overtime pay.

Bedford Police officers have to work a 40 hour work week and are compensated for anytime over a one week period.

Police officers are eligible for overtime if they work during special assignments such as Operation Pullover now known as C.H.I.R.P. and Drug Task Forces , in addition to their regular patrol duties.

Both C.H.I.R.P. and Drug task forces are paid for from grants from the Indiana Justice Institute and Lawrence County Prosecutor office.

If the overtime funds are depleted , firefighters and police officers must take the option of comp time.

Additionally, if a police officer or firefighter works a holiday, they do not receive holiday pay but receives a extra day off.

The fire department staff level during COVID - 19 reduced to eight firefighters per shift versus the required 9.

Salary compensation has been a factor for the turnover, and the city requires requires firefighter and police officers to reimburse the city if they leave the department within three years.

Photo: Bedford salary ordinance for various departments

The firefighters and police officers are given longevity pay in addition to their regular compensation.


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