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FMPD wants higher pay, but says city is stalling with new contract agreement

Posted at 7:10 PM, Nov 15, 2023

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Fort Myers Police Department (FMPD) Officers Union said they are in a difficult situation with the City of Fort Myers when it comes to contract negotiations.

In addition to the contract negotiations, union president, John Price said officers with the department are also concerned with the current staffing shortage because it puts officers and the community at risk.

For the past 15 months, the union has been negotiating with the City of Fort Myers on a new contact.

Officer John Price said the city's team has stalled and refused to consider there request.

He listed these areas of critical need:

• We are continually facing officer shortages due to the lack of competitive pay. 911 operators/police dispatchers are operating at 60% staffing, requiring officers to come off the road and work as dispatchers.

• We have asked the city for a $5 an hour increase for all sworn employees of the police department to make our pay scale competitive with surrounding agencies. If the $5 per hour was approved this still fails to keep pace with other law enforcement agencies competing for the same pool of candidates.

• The pay scale presented by the city at the last negotiations was not only regressive from a previous offer but did not provide raises for senior officers.

• We calculate the difference between the union proposed pay increase and the city’s is only a $600,000 difference.

• The cost of hiring, training and equipment for a new officer is more than $100,000. Losing officers to other agencies is costing taxpayers.

"While the City has offered to adjust starting pay for officers it has offered a zero dollar an hour raise for senior officers at the agency," Officer Price stated. "The offer given by the city is a sliding scale downward from $4.40 an hour for starting officers to zero for officers who have been with the agency 10 years or more."

Fox 4's Briana Brownlee reached out to the city for comment. The city's spokeswoman said both Mayor Kevin Anderson and the City Manager Marty Lawing were out of town and couldn't be reached for comment.