NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Nashville Fraternal Order of Police has accused Mayor David Briley of running a “financial shell game” and not funding his promised 6.4% increase for new hires.
During his State of Metro address back in April , Briley recommended increasing the starting pay for Metro Nashville Police officers by 6.4%.
On Tuesday, the FOP released a statement, accusing Briley of cutting $2 million from the police department’s budget and not funding his promised 6.4% increase for new hires. They said a memo, which was sent to the director of MNPD finance, included "several concerns" about the 2020 budget.
The FOP says the department is already short-staffed by 170 officers.
“This financial shell game has, of course, been kept quiet from the public,” the FOP’s statement read in part.
A spokesperson for the Mayor offered a response:
"Mayor Briley’s FY2020 budget includes a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment for all police officers, as well as open range and step increases for MNPD. The Mayor’s budget also includes 6.4% increase in starting salaries for new officers. To say otherwise is factually incorrect.
The 6.4% raise in starting police salaries will be paid in accordance with the city’s pay plan effective July 1, 2019. This means that all police trainees employed on or after July 1 will be paid 6.4% higher than last fiscal year.
Every department in Metro was given a targeted savings goal this year, and the goal for MNPD was held flat from the amount last year. The continued use of savings targets was clearly communicated publicly during the budget process, so it should not be a surprise to anyone. The continued use of saving targets was also a recommendation of the Blue Ribbon Commission.
We are in an election season, which unfortunately means that politically motivated groups will push misinformation out to the public.
Mayor Briley deeply appreciates the work that our officers do every day and will continue to work to get them the resources they need."
The FOP also said they’ve placed billboards up around the city to “ensure the general public is aware of the compromised state of our public safety.”
"If this budgeting practice, that devalues and demoralizes our officers continues, we will find ourselves amidst a public safety crisis that we cannot reverse," the statement continued.