COLUMBIA, Mo. - The president of the Columbia Police Officers' Association criticized City Manager Mike Matthes at Monday night's city council meeting.
"Somebody has to hold the city manager's feet to the fire, and ask what's the plan, what are we doing, because that's not happening," Alan Mitchell said.
Mitchell discussed issues he had with the city's collective bargaining process. The CPOA asked the city for a pay plan for officers moving forward, getting more of them into the midpoint of the salary range. The city, however, would only allow a twenty-five cent an hour raise across the board.
Mitchell, a 15-year veteran of CPD, said officers are leaving the department for better pay and working conditions. He said Matthes seemed dismissive of the officers' concerns over pay.
"Even with the 25 cents that they're offering this year, I still won't be at the midpoint. So, there is no hope for us at this point of reaching the midpoint even by retirement," Mitchell said.
Margrace Buckler, head of the city's Human Resources department, would not comment on Mitchell's claims because the city is still negotiating with CPOA.
Mayor Brian Treece told ABC 17 News that while collective bargaining is up to the city manager, he would look into pay increases for city employees.
"Whether they're going to be to the scope of what we can afford or what they deserve is a matter of what we can afford," Treece said.
Monday's council meeting was not the first time this year the group has heard about pay issues for city staff. A retired director of Columbia Water and Light said electric linemen leaving the city due to pay had created a "crisis" for the department.