Wilton Manors & Police Union In Contract Negotiations

Photo via Facebook.

Sworn members of the Wilton Manors Police Department (WMPD) are among the lowest paid in South Florida. Now they and the city are working to change that, but are coming at the challenge from two very different places.

The current contract expires at the end of September. On July 27, representatives of the city and the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) met publicly to lay out offers. The meeting was short, only 30 minutes including a break.

Finance Director Pennie Zuercher and Human Resources Director Dio Sanchez represented the city, while chief union negotiators are PBA Broward Vice President Kevin Loughran and WMPD Sgt. Michael Littleton.

Only two issues were discussed: how much PTO officers can bank (the city is offering 300 hours), and pay structure.

Currently, WMPD officers start at $58,222 and max out at $89,294 annually, the second lowest in Broward County, only behind Miramar.

The city is offering an 8% raise across the board, setting a new minimum of $61,715 and maxing out at $96,437. It’s how officers get from one point to the other is where differences lie.

Under the current contract, officers get merit based raises and the city is willing to use a seniority based “step” system, where they reach maximum pay at 10 years. PBA representatives object to how officers are put in the new system.

PBA says the new system will cheat officers of seniority when it comes to pay. After a brief back and forth, PBA representatives decided to take the city’s offer to its members and continue negotiations at a later date.

Being competitive in pay and benefits is key to retaining officers. In June, WMPD Chief Gary Blocker told OutSFL that in 2020-21, of those who voluntarily left, he says around 34% left for better pay and benefits. One out of two, last year left for better pay and benefits. 

“Listening to the membership, I’m optimistic we’ll improve salaries, benefits, and other term of that package to get our police officers the compensation they deserve.”

If all this seems familiar, that’s because it is. In response to high inflation, last year the city reopened the contract to negotiate an unscheduled raise. Even that voluntary negotiation carried an air of confrontation.

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2520 N. Dixie Highway,
Wilton Manors, FL 33305

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