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$1 million to go to Chattanooga police disparity

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) - Some Chattanooga police officers could see raises close to $5,000 while others' salaries could be frozen this year as part of a plan to fix years of unequal pay.

Mayor Andy Berke has pledged nearly $1 million to the Chattanooga Police Department -- about a fifth of the city's savings from the fire and police pension overhaul -- in his proposed 2015 budget to create a new pay structure expected to roll out this summer.

Berke didn't direct similar funds to the Chattanooga Fire Department, where union leaders have said similar pay discrepancies exist. Instead, the fire department will get a budget boost of $1.5 million to replace 8-year-old breathing masks and harness equipment that fire officials say is needed for safety.

“We’re disappointed it’s not in this year’s budget,” said Tim Bryant, secretary-treasurer for the Chattanooga Fire Fighters Association IAFF Local 820. “Some changes need to be made to our pay. I’m a taxpaying citizen as well and understand the costs, but our guys are working two to three jobs to make ends meet.”

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