Emory Bryan, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- The Tulsa City Council wants to give raises to police officers - but the Mayor wants to wait - even though the money is literally in the bank. Because the money is already in the budget, the council can't direct how it's spent, only the mayor can.
But Bartlett is urging caution on the budget - both this year and next.
At Thursday's city council meeting, Tulsa Police Officer Todd Henley was honored for saving a life when he responded to a car accident. He got a standing ovation.
Later in the same meeting - councilors talked about giving officers something else - yearly salary increases they lost two years ago.
"All city employees made sacrifices, and they gave up things," said Councilor Chris Trail.
The council wants to restore the increases that officers received before the economic downturn. Councilor Bill Christiansen argues the city now has the money, and officers deserve it.
"I'm not calling them raises, they're really cost of living adjustments, and it's just what they say, they're satisfactory performance increases, which means if an officer does a good job as he's on the job longer, he gets a little more in the way of a salary increase," Christiansen said.
Restoring increases would cost the city $446,000 from January through June of this year. The city has saved $2 million through attrition in the ranks and cutbacks in overtime.
Mayor Bartlett still wants to wait on the increases - arguing it should be part of the budget talks - and negotiations with the police union.
The union argues it's money they were promised.
"Officers in the past have worked with the city, with the current administration it becomes very difficult, but these are people who love Tulsa - and being reasonable is not out of the question for men and women who serve the city," said Victor Ajlouny, Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police Representative.
Mayor Bartlett's director of administration, Jim Twombly, said the mayor thinks the increases should be part of the new police contract talks that will start next month.