An issue raising some questions of fairness in Wheeling was addressed on Tuesday by city officials.
The action was taken one month ago, when the Wheeling Police Department received nearly $1,000 more in raises compared to the fire department. City Manager Bob Herron said there is good reason behind the decision.
Wheeling police officers received $2,080 in annual pay raises, and the fire department received only $400.
Herron said he wants everyone to realize the amount of money was not based off of a poor reflection of anyone or any department. It was based off of recent departures form the police department and salary comparisons with other regional police departments.
“We value our public safety officials and employees very much,” Herron said.
“However, in the police department we were having some issues with recruitment and more importantly the amount of officers, and we did a fairly thorough evaluation of the last nine months to look at where our salaries were and benefits compared to other departments, not only neighboring departments but within the region. I felt that it was important that we remain competitive,” he continued.
The decision was ultimately up to Herron, who is in charge of the compensation of most city employees. Some members of city council said they were happy he gave them a say in the decision.
The Wheeling Fire Department said they have no comment on the situation.