The Ithaca Police Department’s next police chief will face challenges, including department tensions and a shrinking workforce, while implementing community-supported reforms.
To attract a suitable candidate, the city’s Common Council has approved an increase in the police chief’s maximum salary from $132,000 to $150,000, along with a $50,000 signing bonus to be paid over three years. Public Sector Search and Consulting recommended the raise, stating that the previous salary was too low to draw appropriate candidates based on nationwide interest.
The resolution, which raises the salary ceiling by about 14%, does not obligate the city to offer the full $150,000 and signing bonus. Mayor Laura Lewis explained that it provides the city with the option to do so.
However, the salary increase has stirred up tensions among council members, with Alderperson Tiffany Kumar criticizing fellow progressive Alderperson Jorge Defendini for planning to vote against the increase, calling it an “empty political move” that would hinder progress on police reform.
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