The Sunnyside City Council eventually approved an adjustment to the salary of the police department’s administrative assistant/crime analyst position last night by a vote of 5-2.
The position had a monthly salary of $3,150, below that of other administrative assistants in the city and slightly below that of a receptionist. A receptionist position does not require a degree, while the crime analyst position requires a highly trained person, said proponents.
Originally, Deputy Chief Phil Schenck wanted to adjust the salary for the position to something comparable to crime analyst salaries in other cities. However, the city manager suggested simply raising the salary of the position to equal that of other administrative assistant positions in the city.
The change in the budget is covered by the money the city has not paid out for the position while it has been vacant, meaning the city would not be spending extra money on it during this budget year.
When the salary adjustment was proposed during the last public safety meeting, Councilwoman Theresa Hancock suggested leaving the position alone until Sunnyside has a new city manager and possibly a new police chief. She suggested hiring a temp to fill out the administrative assistant duties until the new city management is in place.
The three-member public safety committee did not reach any consensus on the idea during that meeting. The chair of the committee, Deputy Mayor Don Vlieger, had the salary change placed on the consent agenda of last night’s meeting. It was pulled for further discussion by Mayor Jim Restucci and added as the last item on the council’s active agenda.
At last night’s meeting Hancock reiterated her opposition to making any change to the position and suggested again that the city hire temporary help to solve the police department’s paperwork backlog.
Councilman Francisco Guerrero, also a member of the public safety committee, questioned the existence of the position, saying that a city the size of Sunnyside does not merit having a crime analyst.
Restucci told the council that the question on the table was not regarding the position itself but only regarding the salary issue.
“We’re not being asked to fill the position this evening,” he said. “We’re only being asked to change the salary range, which, as far as I’m concerned, shouldn’t be an issue.”
Vlieger moved to approve the salary change to $3,358 a month and it was seconded by Councilman Jason Raines. The dissenting votes came from Hancock and Guerrero.