MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - There are roughly 5,000 city employees represented by unions in the City of Memphis. The last couple of years haven’t been years where the gravy was flowing like… well, like gravy. They saw a 4.6 percent pay cut last year, and this year benefits for employees were cut by about one and a half percent. So they’ve seen more than six percent in cuts in two years.
“Insurance premiums are going up,” says Memphis City Council member Janis Fullilove. “They are talking about reducing their pensions and these people are the ones that put their lives on the line. That’s why I harp so much on this.”
Fullilove specifically talks about the Memphis Police Department because it was the head of the Police Association, Mike Williams, who thought the 4.6 percent pay cut was just a temporary thing. “The Mayor had actually said on several occasions that they wanted it for a temporary fix,” Williams said. “I kept trying to bring it up in this year’s budget hearing, but nobody wanted to discuss it.”
The man who ought to know, not surprisingly, said he knew. Memphis Mayor A C Wharton says he sent a letter to Mike Williams over the weekend. “Some of us have to work on Sundays,” Wharton said, tossing a little dig at the Bulldog who doesn’t normally work on Sundays. Mayor Wharton says he’ll gladly meet with the police unions and others to see if they can find a way to pay to give the money he cut back to employees. “The police officers know their operations better than we do,” Mayor Wharton said. “There may be a way they can come in and say, look, we can do this, and I’ll be more than happy to sit down with them, but we’ve got to get the revenue somewhere.”
Council member Fullilove says one thing she is exploring is looking at ways to tax large not-for-profit organizations in Memphis. The city of Boston is now doing just that, as they also have serious budget troubles.