The Middletown Common Council earlier this week approved a nearly 8 percent pay hike for the chief of police and a 3 percent increase in the unfilled deputy chief's salary.
The salary increases, says Mayor Daniel T. Drew, were entirely motivated by encouraging a current, qualified police officer to fill the deputy chief of police position internally.
Middletown Police Chief William McKenna's salary has increased from $121,264 annually to $130,790. He moved from acting chief of police to chief on May 8. Acting Police Chief Patrick T. McMahon was terminated in February.
Acting Deputy Chief Gregory Sneed retired April 12 to take a job as associate director of public safety at Eastern Connecticut State University. There has been no replacement yet.
“We have a very large department that is growing and it’s expanding and it’s taking on a number of a responsibilities,” says Mayor Daniel T. Drew.
“There is an order on the books that requires a director to be paid above a deputy director," Drew said. "We would like to have an internal search within the department for a deputy chief of police."
Interestingly, the mayor said, the current deputy chief salary was designed for a candidate to come in from outside the department after they had careers elsewhere. “So all of our captains right now make close to what the deputy chief salary had been.”
“We’re waiting for our members to benefit from all this movement,” says Anthony Gennaro, president of the Council 15 AFSCME AFL-CIO. When former Capt. McKenna assumed the duties of acting chief of police, that left his position open — just like a few other lieutenants and sergeants who assumed higher duties temporarily.
He’s very hopeful for a “trickle-down effect at the bottom, just like we’re seeing it at the top,” Gennaro explained.
On Monday, the chief of police resolution passed 11 to 1, the lone dissenting vote being Republican Councilwoman Linda Salafia. The deputy chief resolution was passed 10-2, with Salafia and Deborah Klekowski voting against it.
The opposition from both Republican councilwomen originated from the deputy chief of police salary being raised without a candidate in place, according to council clerk Marie Norwood.
The chief of police resolution was to upgrade the current hourly rate of pay from ($39.40 to $58.30) to ($42.49 to $62.88) with no change in job description. The deputy chief of police salary will move from ($33.21 to $49.16) to ($39.40 to $58.30) hourly.
According to the finance director’s office, the last deputy chief of police’s (Patrick T. McMahon) hourly rate of pay was $47.73. McKenna earned $58.30 per hour, which increased to $62.88 per hour effective Nov. 2.
The salary increases were made, the mayor says, to encourage current, qualified officers, to apply for the deputy chief of police open position.
“That means the captain, who had the salary close to what the deputy chief’s former salary was, could work a little bit of overtime and far exceed the deputy chief’s salary," Drew said. "It’s one of the only ways to provide internal captains, who have the experience within the department and know the community, to apply."
There are a number of incentives to having an internal candidate, the mayor said. “The rapport with the community, the knowledge of the community, the rapport with the officers … The chief and I are in absolute agreement on that,” Drew says.