Councilman Stokes introduced a motion to address the community crisis by utilizing unused city budget funds for additional support to the police force in the form of pay increases retroactive to January 2020. Responding to crisis with force seemed to be a staple in both of these items Stokes introduced during Tuesday’s meeting.
Councilman Stokes, on one hand, voiced opposition to the administration utilizing “ unspent monies that are one time monies to balance the budget”, while openly imploring his council members to redirect these same monies towards his proposal, “We can take that money today with this vote”
The Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Dr. Safiya Omari pointed out the administration’s collaboration with JPD to ensure they have the things to keep them safe and make their jobs easier, she made it clear that the Mayor “supports an increase in salaries across the board, not just for police and fire and public works but for all city employees.” It is worth noting that the administration’s commitment to properly equip the force was appreciated, even by those supporting the resolution, as JPD Officer Jaron Carter voiced gratitude for the recent “…new cars, new vests, body cameras as well as technology that has been placed in our patrol vehicles.”
When reminded by Dr. Omari that Jackson has “an entire city full of employees who are underpaid and overworked’, Councilman Stokes remained undeterred; “We should be making all efforts to make sure pay is not an issue for our Police Department…This is the way we get ahead of what’s taking place in our city”
The administration’s urging of the City Council to consider the impact this proposal could have on other City Employees in dire need of relief seemed to fall on deaf ears during Tuesday’s meeting. Councilwoman Lindsey was in complete agreement with the spirit of the resolution, thanking council President Stokes for his leadership on this issue. “I’m so worried about many things in our city and especially.. the many people who get up every day and make sure we are safe”.
Even as the resolution (in its current state) failed to gain enough votes to move forward, the City Council seemed oblivious to the impact this proposal could have on other City Employees in dire need of relief, as Councilman Aaron Banks assured JPD “ we’re going to find out where we need to get this money from, even if we have to cut in other places.”