Along with the New Orleans City Council's Dec. 11 passage of a city employee minimum wage raise to $10.10, the council also approved the 2015 city budget's 5 percent pay raise for New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) employees. The Police Association of New Orleans and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) said the raise isn't enough to slow attrition in the ranks, as the force has dropped to a little more than 1,000 officers. (NOPD graduated 27 recruits Dec. 5 and another recruit class expects to graduate in early 2015.)
FOP president Jim Gallagher pressed the City Council for a larger raise, but District B City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell said that conversation won't happen until NOPD reveals the results of its promised reforms following devastating reports showing botched sexual assault responses, among other findings from the Office of Inspector General.
"I would be happy to entertain an additional raise ... given improvement on the force," Cantrell said. "That needs to happen.... But when babies who are infected [with sexually transmitted diseases] are turned back to their parents, and when women are told that when they know the man it 'doesn't count,' let's talk about improvement, and I know for a fact that this council will continue to be for increased wages."
"That's an ongoing investigation," Gallagher said to Cantrell. "You just tarnished 1,075 men with the actions of a few." Gallagher then repeated, "Shame on you!" as he stormed out of the Council Chamber.
The municipal employee pay raise impacts more than 40 positions for which the base pay was $7.25. Both measures go into effect Jan. 1.