During its Aug. 15 meeting, Missouri City City Council unanimously passed the first readings, which, when approved on their second and final reading at a future council meeting, will create a $10,000 hiring incentive for entry-level police officers, a $6,000 incentive for certified firefighter staff with no experience and $10,000 for certified firefighter staff with a minimum of three years paid department experience, according to agenda documents.
“I’m excited that my colleagues are engaged in this conversation because in my opinion this has been glossed over for weeks, months and possibly years,” said Vashuandra Edwards, council member at large Position 1 during the meeting.
The original ordinances called for a police incentive of $6,000, with $3,000 for certified firefighter staff with no experience and $6,000 for certified firefighter staff with a minimum three years paid department experience, according to the ordinance.
The ordinances come as both the Missouri City Police Department and Missouri City Fire Department not only face staffing shortages but struggle to fill vacancies, chiefs of both departments said during the meeting.
The police department faces 10 vacancies, while the fire department has 12 vacancies.
Missouri City Mayor Robin Elackatt first recommended higher incentives for police in order to keep Missouri City competitive with neighboring cities.
Still, if officially approved, while the incentives would help attract new employees, both department chiefs acknowledged the struggle to keep more senior-level staff.
“We continue to lose firefighters because, just like police, we’re struggling with taking care of our senior staff and making sure they are compensated,” Missouri City Fire Chief Mario Partida said during the meeting.