Westminster Police Officers Get Salary Increases

Westminster City Hall. JEFF ANTENORE, Voice of OC Contributing Photographer

Westminster police officers will get a salary increase each year over the next three years, after the City Council approved a new three-year-agreement for sworn and civilian Police Department employees.

Police officers will get a 3 percent salary increase effective August 2017, followed by a 3.5 percent increase in 2018 and a 3 percent increase in 2019. The department is budgeted for 86 police officers, although only 75 of those positions are currently filled.

Civilian employees will get a $3,000 cash allowance this year, followed by a 3.5 percent salary increase in 2018 and again in 2019. There are 35 civilian positions in the department, 33 which are filled.

The salary increase comes after voters approved a one-cent sales tax increase in November that city officials say will generate up to $14 million in annual revenue. The tax increase ballot measure was advertised by proponents as a move to prevent a looming bankruptcy and maintain essential city services, including public safety.

The Westminster Police Officers Association spent at least $52,242 in 2016 in support of the sales tax increase, according to a Jan. 2017 campaign finance disclosure.

Human Resources director Mike Harary says Westminster police officers are the lowest paid in Orange County, based on a survey he conducted of the highest possible monthly base salary for police officers in agencies countywide. Officers are generally eligible for a higher salary based on their education, special assignments and skills, such as being able to speak a language other than English.

The highest monthly base salary for officers in Westminster is $6,947, compared to a median of $7,917 a month, according to Harary’s survey.

The highest paid police officers in his survey were from Costa Mesa ($9,101 a month), Irvine ($8,814), Seal Beach ($8,769), Anaheim ($8,313) and Cypress ($8,247).

Officers last received a raise in 2014, when they were given a six percent increase, although their pension contribution was also increased by six percent.

Harary said the department has lost eight police officers to other departments over the past two years: three police officers to Seal Beach, three to Irvine, one to Garden Grove and one to Anaheim.

City council members Sept. 13 approved the salary increases unanimously and without discussion.

Contact Thy Vo at tvo@voiceofoc.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.

  • westminster_guy

    Westminster PD are the lowest paid cops in the county. Even with this 9.5% (over 3 years) raise, they will still be lower paid than the current median salary (assuming that doesn’t go up in 3 yrs, which of course it will).

    Any good employee, public or otherwise, is going to have a hard time staying in a job if they know they can literally go anywhere else in the region for more pay. And the employees you do attract are not likely to be of the highest caliber. This was essential to maintain the force we have, let alone improve upon it.

    I’m glad the city made good on the promise of measure SS — this is precisely why most of us voted for it.

  • verifiedsane

    more pay to play…Police and public employee Unions buy city counsels….It’s called civil service cannibalism

  • LFOldTimer

    So the City of Westminster is in debt up to it’s eyeballs and had to impose an additional 1% sales tax on goods sold in their city to make up for their fiscal mismanagement, then they turn around and give their cops a 9.5% salary hike??? LOL!!!

    “The Westminster Police Officers Association spent at least $52,242 in 2016 in support of the sales tax increase, according to a Jan. 2017 campaign finance disclosure.”

    Oh, that explains it!!! LOL!!!

    How much did the police union “donate” to the council campaigns in 2016? Let’s get that number too!

    Look at how much the cops make in Westminster. Do you really think they needed a pay raise?

    http://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/2016/westminster/

    No wonder the City is in the red and headed towards bankruptcy!

    I won’t spend a thin dime in Westminster on taxable goods or services. The only thing I buy there is retail fish.

    • westminster_guy

      Look at how much cops make in cities adjacent to Westminster — Huntington Beach, Garden Grove, Seal Beach, Fountain Valley, Santa Ana… Do you really think they are overpaid for this market?

      • LFOldTimer

        Considering that the City of Westminster just imposed a 1% sales tax on your city as punishment for your city government’s fiscal incompetency and mismanagement, you bet your bippy I think they’re overpaid.

        If you didn’t notice the non-safety city employees got a nice pay bump too.

        Westminster should disband their PD and hire new cops with 401-k’s instead of fat 3%@50 pensions that pay multi-millions of dollars at the age of 50 or 55.

        We all remember Detective Orban and what a fine officer he was. lol. Do you think he was worth a six-figure compensation?

        • westminster_guy

          Again, you’re ignoring the compensation numbers for the cities surrounding (and competing with) Westminster PD. Across the board (yes, even non-officer police staff) they are paid well below market. How would you attract and retain good cops in that environment?

          • LFOldTimer

            The other cities didn’t impose a 1% sales tax on all goods sold in their city due to city government fiscal mismanagement.

            How many times do I have to repeat that fact for it to stick?

            If Westminster cut the salaries for their cops in half and replaced their defined benefit pensions with 401-k equivalents there would still be 200 applicants for every job opening and the quality of service would not suffer one iota. There just wouldn’t be as many relatives of cops in the department applying for a city police position.

            The only reason cops are paid like Ph.D’s in other OC cities is due to the pervasive corruption between the politicians and public safety unions in the ‘pay to play’ scam. Haven’t you been paying attention?

          • westminster_guy

            “If Westminster cut the salaries for their cops in half and replaced their defined benefit pensions with 401-k equivalents there would still be 200 applicants for every job opening and the quality of service would not suffer one iota.”

            What industry (other than dog washing, lol) would you be able to pay your employees half of what your competitors pay, in addition to lesser benefits, and still be able to attract and retain competent employees? You’re living in fantasy land if you truly believe this stuff.

        • FUOldTimer

          Dude, drink some decaf and take off your tinfoil hat. Who cares how much the cops make as long as they come when you call. Westminster is a toilet, I’m sure lowering the pay and offering an awesome 401k will do the trick. Clown.

          • LFOldTimer

            The guy who owns a mobile dog wash company comes when we call too.

            Does that mean we should pay him like he’s a Ph.D.?

            I remember when cops made normal lower middle class salaries and 2%@60 pensions. And they were more professional and effective than the ones we have today.

          • westminster_guy

            We’re comparing police officers to dog washers now?

          • LFOldTimer

            Sure.

            Each job only requires a GED or HS diploma to apply.

          • westminster_guy

            Wow… and all this time I only took you as a grumpy old conservative. But that’s truly a dumb thing to say.

          • FUOldTimer

            Old Timer you must be really, really, really old because the world has changed my friend. Cops and military in your example don’t qualify for such respect of compensation or pay because your reality is 1978 when $2.75/hr was big money.

            My plumber has a GED and makes $120/hr, he shows up and smells good. After he chases the turd in my pipes, he heads home to Irvine and drives his Range Rover. God bless him, he deserves that pay for the danger of that work. The mobile dog washer I have makes about $70/hr for scrubbing my animal and giving it a high and tight. God bless her and her GED.

            I want someone who has the ability to take/defend my liberty or my life to make not a good wage, but a great wage…even a PhD wage. Marginalizing soldiers and cops only makes you sound like someone who sits at his computer all day in his stained undies definitively venting your myopic frustrations and failures into the blog of an online local paper.