Memo for fiscal year 2019, updated 2018-03-14

[Archived] Question #10: A memo from the City Manager to City Council regarding Police and Fire turnover and the cost of a payscale wide Public Safety salary increase.

Given Monday’s public hearing, I thought it would be useful for Council to get factual, written information on Police and Fire turnover, as well as to understand the cost of a wholesale public safety salary pay scale increase for Police, Fire, Fire Marshals/Medics, and Sheriff.

The data below shows a marked increase in Fire turnover during this fiscal year, but not to an extraordinary level of turnover.  For Police, the turnover has not shown a marked increase. However, I believe it is important to act starting for FY 2019 to return to a regionally competitive status before turnover moves to an unacceptable level.  That is why the $1.5 million recruitment and retention capabilities contingent was included in the proposed budget.

Question: How many police officers and firefighters have left the City in the past three years?

Response: The table below summarizes the number of sworn Alexandria Fire Department (AFD) employees who left City service since FY 2015 in four categories: retirements, medical, firefighter resignations and single-role medic resignations. Year-to-date data through February 2018 shows 13 firefighter resignations compared to an average of 7.0 for the prior three fiscal years (FY 2015 – 2017). From FY 2015 – 2017, AFD lost 3.0% of its firefighters annually due to resignations. In FY 2018, this number has increased to 5.5% YTD. The table also illustrates that in 2016, 12 single-role medics resigned at a significantly higher rate as the City implemented a program to encourage a transition to dual-role careers.

BMQ - 10 - 1 - Public Safety Retention

BMQ - 10 - 2 - Public Safety Retention

The table below summarizes the number of sworn Alexandria Police Department (APD) employees who left City service since FY 2015 in three categories: retirements, medical, and resignations. From FY 2015 – 2017, APD lost just over 20 sworn officers due to resignations on an annual basis; this averages to 6.8% of its authorized positions. From FY 2015 – 2017, APD has lost, in terms of percentage of authorized FTEs, 7.2%, 5.6%, and 7.5%.  In FY 2018, APD has had 13 sworn officers resign through February, which equates to 4.2% of its sworn officers.

BMQ - 10 - 3 - Public Safety Retention (2)
This table is a corrected version – the original version transposed the Police retirement and medical separation numbers.

BMQ - 10 - 4 - Public Safety Retention

Question: What is the cost of a 1%, 5%, and 10% salary increase for public safety pay scale personnel?

Response:  Some of the public safety advocates have promoted the idea of a 5% to 10% across-the-pay scales solution to public safety pay competitiveness.  So Council has an idea of the order of magnitude of such an approach, the following table is provided:

BMQ - 10 - 5 - Public Safety Retention

As calculated, an across the board pay scale increase would be expensive (5% = $4.3 million, 10% = $8.7 million). A more strategic, multi-year phased approach would seem to be the best method to reach competitiveness in those areas of each of the three public safety pay scales where competitiveness is an issue (Medics/Fire Marshals may or may not be an issue).

Printable Version

Back to Budget Memo archive index

© 1995–2022 City of Alexandria, VA and othersPrivacy & LegalFOIA Requests