Keyser upgrades salaries; offers sign-on bonus for officers
KEYSER - The City of Keyser took another step recently toward beefing up salaries for police officers and some other employees, with the additional money coming from the closure of the city’s police dispatch last month.
In addition, the city will now be offering a $2,500 sign-on bonus for certified police officers, and a reward package for those employees retiring with 15 or more consecutive years of service to the city.
City administrator Jeff Broadwater suggested the changes during the Keyser City Council’s May 12 meeting.
Broadwater said the re-allocation of the funds would enable the city to “expand our law enforcement to 12 full-time officers and one administrative person.”
With the increased salaries for officers, Broadwater said, “We’re looking to come as close as we can to matching the county pay scale.”
He said the increases were made possible not only due to the closure of the city dispatch, but also because some water and sewer department employees had retired and those moneys were also re-allocated.
Broadwater blamed a lot of the inequality and inconsistency of salaries on previous administrations.
“In the past, what has happened is you’ve had mayors, you’ve had water boards, you’ve had sanitary boards, you’ve had a city administrator that was different every year and they came in here and made salary changes,” he said.
Broadwater proposed forming a committee composed of himself, finance commissioner Mike Ryan, and officer manager Bonnie Hannas to oversee any salary changes made in the future.
“I think forming this committee will give you some stability and give you a better objective opinion,” he said.
Should the committee not be able to make a decision, however, they would bring the salary issue before the council.
In addition to the updated salary scale, Broadwater proposed a retirement bonus of $200 per year for every year an employee has worked for the city if that employee has worked at least 15 consecutive years.
The bonus will be retroactive until January.
As for the $2,500 sign-on bonus for certified officers, Broadwater said the city would still save money, as it costs an estimated $3,500-$4,000 to fully train an officer.
Council member Jim Hannas made a motion to accept Broadwater’s proposals, and Ron Metcalf seconded it. The motion passed 4-0, with council member Billy Meek absent from the meeting.