The union that represents Rockville's police officers is asking the Mayor and Council to reverse cutbacks in officers' compensation, now that the recession is over. Officer Jan Seilhamer, who is the union's president (and an Army veteran of Operation Desert Storm), said "morale is at an all-time low within the police department," due to the reductions.
Speaking at the last council meeting, Seilhamer argued that the city can easily afford to restore step increases to officers, as jurisdictions with worse economies have already done so. A forensic accountant the Rockville Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 117 hired to review the city's finances concluded the city is in "excellent financial health," Seilhamer noted.
Given that context, Seilhamer said, officers see "a mayor and council who do not value our contributions and sacrifices. We have sacrificed time with our families, we have sacrificed our bodies for this city."
A one-time FY-2015 bonus is "unacceptable," Seilhamer said, especially when officers may be ordered to contribute more to their retirement plans, to boot.
Seilhamer pointed to the amount of the city's surplus being spent on capital improvement projects in the budget as evidence of misplaced priorities. "When are you going to make the people who help make this city so great a priority?" she asked.
The mayor and council did not publicly respond to the issue in their Response to Community Forum directly following Seilhamer's testimony.