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Benefits Battle Continues At Memphis City Hall

The contract negotiations between the City of Memphis and the Police Association are now in their second week. There is one issue. Police want restoration of th...
Benefits Battle Continues At Memphis City Hall

Members of the Memphis City Council are the ones who will decide whether to restore Memphis Police Officers’ 2014 benefits.  Some say are you kidding?  “You know the answer to that, says Memphis City Councilman Ed Ford, Jr., who is against restoring the benefits. Then, Councilman Ford asked me a question. “Are you trying to be facetious?” 

Mayor Jim Strickland always points out how much of an increase in property taxes it would take to bring the benefits back.  He never mentions any other ideas, but when asked as to whether he ever considered raising the sales tax half a cent, he quickly answered “No,” saying  “First of all we can’t do it this year. It takes a public referendum.”

Four years ago, when Jim Strickland was a City Councilman, he pushed for raising the sales tax half a cent for pre-kindergarten classes.  Voters turned the idea down.  Something Police Association President Mike Williams doesn’t think would happen if the money raised would go to bringing back the benefits. “They’re reserving that for something on their agenda where they can offer it up,” says Williams. ” Give the people the opportunity to actually vote for whether they want to put a mechanism in place that secures their safety in this city.”

Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings has been watching.The Police Director does not take an active role in contract negotiations. “I’ve been around a long time,” Rallings said, “27 years. When I came on the police department, there was an uproar about benefits and salary. You see these cycles and its one of those things you have to work through.”