TEXARKANA, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Texarkana, Arkansas, Board of Directors is taking a closer look at the issue of pay parity.
City leaders held a special workshop Thursday afternoon to discuss resolutions drafted by Mayor Allen Brown, Assistant Mayor Linda Teeters and the Texarkana, Arkansas, Police Association. The three resolutions revise competitive pay rules for the city’s civil service employees.
The attention on the issue comes after a lawsuit was filed concerning police officer salaries. In the 1990s, voters approved a tax to ensure officer salaries are equal to those on the Texas-side, which is known as “pay parity.”
The lawsuit claims the city mis-managed that tax revenue, while the city filed to have the tax used for parity purposes deemed unconstitutional.
“We have over-obligated these salaries and the revenue that’s coming in,” said Mayor Allen Brown. “And, me personally, I want to put together a resolution, an ordinance that doesn’t do that.”
Earlier this month, Judge Kirk Johnson encouraged both parties to work out a compromise.
“Trying to find common ground so we can get this issue behind us and move our city forward,” said Tom Briggs, president of the Texarkana, Arkansas, Police Association.
City leaders and police representatives voiced willingness to work together to create a resolution satisfactory to all parties. At this point, city leaders say just minor edits, such as eliminating words that tie to parity, are all that are needed before further review and approval.
From here, city leaders say they will work to incorporate all the feedback from the workshop to draft an ordinance. They hope to have a draft for approval by mid-August.