JUPITER, Fl. – Police in Jupiter, Florida need a serious change in their pay and benefits… otherwise the town might lose a major percentage of its force.

“It’s downright shameful,” said a woman who gathered to speak out for better compensation for the city’s officers. “Pay these people what they deserve.”

More than 100 people filled the council chambers in Jupiter on Tuesday night in support of the officers. Some were family members. Some were officers. All were supporters.

“You make three times as much as an officer,” said one town resident pointing to the Town Manager, Matt Benoit. “Are you going to rush into a bank robbery with automatic fire going on around you? What do you think you should be paid to do that job?”

Currently, the town’s police force receives pay raises based on merit, allowing supervisors to choose the percentage of increase from 0% to 6% annually, depending on how the officer was performing.

But now the police union is fighting for that to change, and asking government officials to help them get up to par with other municipalities.

 

The officers are asking for a step-plan, which would account for an automatic annual pay increase by a decided-upon percentage, so long as the officer satisfactorily met department standards. 

If they don’t get it… that’s when the situation could implode, and Jupiter could lose 1 out of every 5 officers.

“Currently we know about 20 percent of the current officers are actively seeking employment elsewhere in the area for better compensation,” said Rick McAfee, Vice President of the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association.

“Unless the council takes action and brings the compensation in line with the other surrounding agencies, they’re going to see a mass exodus,” said McAfee. “Jupiter’s current compensation package is not in line with the local municipalities around the area.”

 

Three plans were submitted to PBA from the town.

WPTV reported that, “the 12-year step plan proposed by the city would increase the current starting officer salary from $51,258.00 to $54,846. Officers currently “top out” at $79,347, but the step-plan would increase an officer’s maximum baseline salary to $87,688.”

Good, right? Not so fast.

Town Manager Benoit, who makes over $200,000, is trying to play hardball during negotiations, changing an officer’s compensation and benefits after they “top out”. 

So, in theory, an officer on their 13th year on the force might end up making less overall than they did on their 12th year.

There are currently 3 plans submitted to the PBA surrounding the compensation packages – one as the 12-year step-plan, and two merit-based options. When officers took a closer look, they noticed some strange holes in the plans. One example the PBA looked at from a merit-based plan would give an officer of 3 years a higher salary than an officer of 5 years.

 

“These numbers appear to be a smoke and mirrors trick designed to mislead us the officers and the general public,” Officer O’Neil Anderson told the council. “The numbers look attractive on paper, but they are not fair.”

Something needs to be done, and quickly.

“It is imperative that Jupiter Town Council direct the town manager who is, ironically enough, one of the highest paid town managers in Palm Beach County, to do the right thing for the residents,” said McAfee.

The negotiations are set to continue on May 30th. 

TUNE INTO THE LAW ENFORCEMENT TODAY RADIO – HOSTED BY RETIRED BALTIMORE SERGEANT JOHN ‘JAY’ WILEY