Wylie PD Officer Headcount vs Budget Requests

If you recall, at the budget work session earlier in June, several city council members shut down a concerned citizen during his time to speak. Mayor even pushed a mic grab by pulling Chief Henderson up to the podium.

During that rude orchestration, a comment was made by one of the council members that they had witnessed how devastating it was for a recruit to make it through our system, only to be turned away because there was not a budgeted position available. That statement is an outright fabrication.

I submitted an information request to the city, asking if they had to turn away any recruits since 2012. Here is the response which shows the number of sworn police vs the number of headcount available. At no time did they have to turn away anyone.

Also notice that PD has been given plenty of funds toward headcount each year, but they have not filled the positions for one reason or another. It is unfathomable that in 2014, when there were 46 officers on the day the 2014/15  budget was approved, city council approved an sickening 15 slots in our budget. Do you have any idea how much money that represents per person, when the city pays for a recruit's training, salary, overtime and benefits? 

When the current budget was approved last September, there were 55 sworn officers and 6.5 headcount built into the budget. But when former Councilman William Whitney asked to take a second look at that headcount request, he was virtually steamrolled by Mayor Eric Hogue. 

The "overtime" excuse does not hold water. I defy you to take overtime pay away from police and see how happy they remain. They want overtime pay because it bumps up their salary considerably.

The "low pay" excuse no longer holds water, as the city has been providing market increases every year during this period. A market increase bumps up salaries to meet those of nearby cities of similar size or budget.

What this means is that year after year, the city council is pushing through a kabuki dance of numbers that is emotion-based, instead of reality-based. This emotion appears to flow into every area of the budget, and the taxpayers have provided them with an open wallet.

What council members and Mayor Hogue have not done is provide taxpayers with relief from the increasing property values, because they have continually voted to increase our taxes the past four years, while pretending they are lowering our taxes with a smoke and mirrors tax rate numbers game.

All we are asking for this year is an adoption of the effective tax rate. It's really not that difficult for them to give us that, by holding to last year's rather healthy budget.

It is a total mystery to me as to why our city leaders think this is rocket science. It's not.

Image credit: City of Wylie