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Crime & Justiceby Mark Reutter1:48 pmMar 18, 20150

Senior police staff get pay hikes; Batts eligible for hefty raise

Senior command pay is adjusted upwards to match increases negotiated by the police union. A new classification will potentially boost Police Commissioner Batts’ salary.

Above: Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts addresses the media with two members of his senior command staff.

The Board of Estimates today established new positions and salary grades for the Baltimore Police Department’s senior command staff – then awarded pay increases for 53 officers retroactive to July 1, 2014.

The salary increases will keep the top brass at a fixed percentage above the pay scale established last year in a new contract with the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3.

The average salary increase will amount to $15,370 per officer and will cost the city $814,609 in the current budget year, according to BOE records.

Under the pay scales approved by the spending board, police captains will be paid 6% above the maximum seniority salary of a police lieutenant.

Majors will be paid 12% above lieutenants; lieutenant colonels 18% above lieutenants; colonels 25% above lieutenants; and deputy commissioners 40% above lieutenants, who were awarded a 13% salary increase over the three-year contract.

Up to $230,000 Salary

The board also approved, without discussion and with one abstention, a potential salary jump for Police Commisioner Anthony W. Batts.

Batts – who received $193,000 last year, according to on-line records – will be eligible for a future salary of up to $230,000. This compares to a current salary cap of $209,500.

“The creation of a new classification and salary grade for the Police Commissioner will ensure that the Police Commissioner may receive salary adjustments in accordance with the terms of the Commissionerʼs employment contract with Baltimore City,” the Department of Human Resources told the board.

Since becoming chief in 2012, replacing Frederick H. Bealefeld III, Batts has argued for higher pay for police, saying the city was not competitive with nearby jurisdictions, leading to high turnover and vacancies in the ranks.

Those vacancies have in turn caused the police to rely on overtime payments to maintain sufficient staffing.

At a City Council hearing last December, the budget bureau projected a record $38 million in overtime police costs this year, in part because the administration did not budget sufficient funds to cover the costs of the initial pay increase granted under the new contract.

The amount of overtime has been revised downward due to efficiencies stemming from the new contract, police spokesman Capt. J. Eric Kowalczyk said today.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Comptroller Joan M. Pratt approved the pay increase. The board’s third elected official, Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, abstained from voting, but did not explain why.

The exact salary increases for the 53 command positions covered by today’s action were not disclosed.

But the agreement specified that “current incumbents and newly hired or promoted employees will not be eligible for performance-based salary adjustments and will have no ability to negotiate salary upon hire or promotion except to maintain the fixed salary relationship for their rank.”

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