Based on a new report from a consulting firm hired by the city of Lakeway, City Council voted to approve pay adjustments for certain police officers during a special called meeting May 4.
The report came from consulting firm Evergreen Solutions LLC, and City Manager Julie Oakley said the recommendations within it extended from an August report on pay for certain city employees.
The recent report focused on recommendations for a new, merit-based pay system that incorporates cost-of-living increases and identifies strategies for controlling overtime and scheduling for police and emergency services workers, according to Betty Ressel, a representative for Evergreen Solutions.
Among the recommendations, the report proposed eliminating overtime for nonexempt, sworn police officers and reducing overtime for telecommunicators to four hours per pay period, Ressel said.
“That reduces overall overtime to 104 hours [per employee, annually],” Ressel said.
Ressel also discussed what she called a “police step plan” that would attract and retain high-quality officers that would have a total implementation cost of $43,575, which consists of pay increases for officers at or near the entry level.
“You have constant churning action going on with your police force where you’re continually losing and rehiring. ... And we’ve got to stop that bleeding at the early level,” Ressel said. “This brings these new people in the plan up to the new minimum.”
As one example, the Evergreen report suggests a probationary officer’s salary should go from a minimum of $50,977 to $53,500—a move Ressel said puts Lakeway at a competitive edge for pay against neighboring police departments.
Ressel said the $43,575 to bring new officers up to the recommended minimum pay would be the only additional cost to Lakeway’s budget, but Oakley clarified that was a one-time cost covered by a salary savings account already accounted for in the city’s budget.