Federal Way City Council approves pay raise for police commanders

The agreement results a total increase of about $40,000 for four commanders over a two-year period.

Federal Way City Council recently approved a pay increase for four commanders of the Federal Way Police Department.

At the July 21 meeting, City Attorney Ryan Call presented the bargaining agreement of Teamsters Local 117, the union that represents the Federal Way police commanders, to the council for approval. This is a new union for the commanders and the first contract negotiation the city has gone through with the Local as a bargaining unit.

“We felt this contract was a reasonable agreement, which was approved by the City Council as part of an effort to keep up with market adjustments and, in part, to retain good employees with the city,” said Tyler Hemstreet, communications coordinator for the Federal Way Mayor’s Office. “We need these supervisors to do their jobs as the leaders in this department.”

Commanders of the Federal Way Police Department can earn upwards of $130,000.

The two-year wage increase agreement covers a retroactive period from Jan. 7, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2021.

The agreement negotiated two retroactive wage increases with 1% increase as of Jan. 7 and 2% increase effective July 1, and two future increases of 1% increase effective Jan. 1, 2021, and 2% increase effective July 1, 2021.

Total increase for the two-year contract is about $40K, “which has been budgeted in the budget amendment,” Call said.

As the contract was signed in 2020, the entire amount of the contract needed to be approved in this budget cycle, which is why it was included in the budget amendment. The city council unanimously passed the amendment on July 21.

In addition to wages, the commanders asked for a deferred compensation program, which would allow maximum of 1% of the employee’s base pay this year and next year with a maximum of 2%.

Total compensation cost of wages and all compensation for the four employees is $1,405,424. This amount was already budgeted, the city said.

Currently, five commander positions are allocated in the budget; the department only has four positions filled.

“The [fifth] spot is not currently planned to be filled for a while for budget reasons,” Call said.

Additional terms of the commanders include asking the city to facilitate monthly premium payments from members of the Teamster Retirement fund and an extra 20 hours of executive leave per year.

The commanders are salaried employees who work “considerably more hours than 40 per week on most occasions … so this a way of compensating them for some of the extra time they work because of the nature of their duties,” Call said.

Council President Susan Honda made the motion for approval and the agreement was unanimously approved by the council.

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