Chattanooga Police seek improvements to promotions testing - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Chattanooga Police seek improvements to promotions testing

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Chattanooga Police want an extra piece of tax dollars to ramp up testing that can lead to better pay for officers.

The current testing means lower ranking officers can actually end up making more than superiors.

Chief Bobby Dodd says, "It goes down when someone gets passed like that. Someone like a junior officer or if you've been at that rank for a while, so it causes morale problems and sometimes litigation."

The Fraternal Order of Police say once the new testing begins, they want to see it happen more often.

Sergeant Craig Joel says, "The biggest issue I have is not so much the material but the infrequency. In this case it has been four years since we have had any testing for promotion. It stifles movement. Obviously it keeps us from moving in our careers."

The current pay scale system has caused some officers to increase in rank, but not pay.

Dodd says the department is top heavy, so pay raises replace rank promotion.

The city has been asked to find $1.2 million to even things out.

Councilman Andrae McGary says, "Working through the issues of the pay increase which is closely connected to the testing is something we have to work out in this budget."

Chief Bobby Dodd says, "The only concern we have and the problem we run into is when you have a pay scale and you don't move employee's progressively through it, you're going to have anomalies develop every year."

Mayor Ron Littlefield announced he wanted to give a 3% pay raise to city employees, but McGary says 350 officers who got a raise last year will miss out.

The FOP says the money fiasco has caused some officers to look elsewhere for a job. This is something they are trying to prevent. 

Joel says, "Whether it is promotability or benefits, they have gone across the country. Several others have left for those specific reasons."

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