Published On: Wed, Sep 30th, 2015

Savannah mayor holds merger agreement hostage

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metro crimeSavannah Mayor Edna Jackson is holding the proposed city-county police merger agreement hostage, demanding the county agree to additional pay increases for officers and putting the framework entered into by both bodies in jeopardy.

“I will not recommend that the city manger bring the county’s version of the agreement before city council until we receive a definitive answer from the county on this matter of great importance,” Jackson said in a Sept. 28 letter to county commission chairman Al Scott Sept. 28.

Jackson requested the pay increases be considered by the police policy committee, made up of her, Scott and the city and county managers.

Scott wants to wait until the merger agreement is approved before the committee considers the issue, according to his Sept. 29 response:

“I support pay increases for the police officers. In fact, I don’t know if the proposed salaries are adequate to retain and recruit the best officers, but that is a discussion for a future policy committee meeting.”

The correspondence comes after the county commissioners approved a version of an agreement the city council had OK’d eliminating language referencing the salary increases that the city had implemented to try to counter the growing number of officer vacancies.

Jackson said in her letter to Scott that she found the removal of the language regarding the salary increases “troubling.”

She said the city manager had tried to schedule a policy committee meeting before the pay changes were implemented, but the county rejected her requests.“

City Council has clearly demonstrated its commitment to public safety by fully supporting critical pay scale increases,” she said.

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