City Council proposes to give all city workers a raise

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Robbing Peter to pay Paul? Members of the Memphis City Council want to give all city workers — including top administrators — a raise, but it would come at a cost: dipping into police overtime.

Director Michael Rallings didn't mince his words when he told the council what he thought of that plan.

He says his overtime budget is critical in keeping the city safe with his short staff, and he broke down the most recent pay period to show the council why.

"Every decision we make makes a big difference in our ability to give those services," said Rallings. "35 percent of our overtime is just to put officers in seats. We are at critical staffing levels."

Rallings broke down the overtime from the past pay period at Tuesday's committee meeting. He said a majority went to uniform patrol who were just staying later to fill empty seats or squad cars or to help cover a crime scene.

Rallings budgeted for $22.4 million in overtime for the next fiscal year. Councilmembers came back last week and cut $2.7 million from his overtime budget.

Then Tuesday, the budget committee proposed putting that money towards raises.

The discussion isn't over. Nothing is final until the full council votes on the budget by July 1.