The Clarksville Police Political Action Committee (PAC) has announced the candidates it will support in the upcoming election. As with the Clarksville Fire Department Political Action Committee, I did not receive their endorsement. This is not a surprise because I have steadfastly held to the position regarding salary negotiations that I cannot guarantee salary and benefit increases that exceed the limit of what the State of Indiana allows as an annual increase in Clarksville’s tax levy.
Both departments are among the highest paid and have the best benefit packages of all town employees. The Police PAC wanted a guarantee that I would support compulsory arbitration on their salary package. My response was that I am willing to negotiate with them but that I cannot give them more money than the state gives the town as an annual increase in our levy. Doing so would be to deprive all other employees of a fair salary increase.
I have supported requests for new hires and equipment purchases from both departments and feel strongly that we have the best police and fire department in the area. They are deeply involved in our community and I am very proud of them. However, I cannot offer a promise of a blank check when it comes to salary negotiations. When you look at their salary and total benefit package, I believe they are being paid well above what almost all other town employees receive.
While I would love to have their endorsement, I cannot ignore the fiscal responsibility I have to the residents of the town and to all other town employees.