(Memphis) The political season is over but the Memphis Police Association says one campaign is just beginning.
The union which represents the city’s rank and file officers is in talks with Mayor Wharton’s administration about salaries and benefits.
The union is turning up the heat with a new commercial and a scheduled rally.
The union that represents Memphis Police pulled a permit for a rally this weekend.
They say dozens of officers and their families will be at the busy intersection of Poplar and Highland to encourage the public to get behind them.
The Memphis Police Association’s new commercial calls out Memphis Mayor A C Wharton and his administration for the millions in tax incentives and bonds for big corporations and businesses.
“I’m saying we’re spending all of this money and developers are getting all of this money but we continuously say we’re going to have to cut back on services. We’re going to have to possibly close community centers,” said Mike Williams, MPA President.
Williams says the city will lose good police officers if proposed benefits like college incentives, sick time and holiday pay are cut.
“When you start taking things like that the people you’re going to get for this job, you’re already saying you are having problems with police, what do you think you’re going to get,” said Williams.
“We recognize that having a vibrant and viable economy is key to the vitality of the entire city. It’s how we pay the bills in terms of tax revenue,” said George Little, City of Memphis CAO.
Little is in charge of day-to-day operations at city hall. He defends the city’s use of supporting businesses saying they bring jobs.
He says most of the money to fund recent incentives comes from a different pot of money.
“Typically what we’re spending in terms of these big projects that so often get highlighted again is long-term money or its passing up future income,” said Little.
Little says the budget to fund police services in Memphis is the only one expected to see an increase. It got $9 million dollars more.
The city is also offering to restore the 4.6% pay cut to all city employees and increase the line of duty death benefits to employees like police. Williams has a response to that.
Williams said, “I think that’s a great gesture but are you trying to tell me I’m worth more dead than alive.”
The city must have a budget approved by the end of June.