Think outside the box!
I read with interest the letter the FOP sent to our city manager seeking an unrealistic wage increase and other benefits. I also noted the comments made by the current chief of police.
And guess what, I agree with the FOP that increased wages and benefits would be great and well deserved. However, that being said it is totally unrealistic based on the current economic circumstances, loss of city residents (28,900-plus remaining), for the membership of the FOP to think they will be granted any pay or benefit increase.
In fact, taking the emotions out of the discussion the citizens of Wheeling cannot afford the luxury of such a large department based on the number of taxpayers paying the bills. We will probably see a reduction in the workforce before we see any wage increases; that's just reality.
I offer a suggestion for consideration. Combine the police and fire departments and cross train all of the new officers hired and those with five years or less of service. By combining the departments and cross training the new employees the city could eventually reduce the size of both departments and free up wages and benefits (including pension payments) to enable them to provide the remaining members of both the departments with significant wage increases, and job security, at an overall savings to the community.
I realize that this suggestion will require some significant study and planning but it surely merits the attention of those elected to represent our best interests!
Hope springs eternal!