Atlanta Police personnel are set to receive bonuses ranging from $1,000 to $4,000 as part of the city’s efforts to retain officers. City employees working in departments such as transportation, public works and parks and recreation are also slated to receive hourly pay boosts.
The one-year bonuses for police and other city frontline workers announced by Mayor Andre Dickens are on top of the 2% percent citywide cost-of-living increases proposed in his $2.3 billion total operating budget for fiscal year 2023. The City Council must approve the budget by June 30 because the new fiscal year begins July 1.
Of the total $2.3 billion operating budget, $734 million is set aside for the city’s general fund. The general fund covers costs for services such as police, fire and infrastructure improvements. The mayor is proposing $235.7 million, or roughly 32%, of the general fund go toward police.
The bonuses announced June 15 by Dickens in a news release will be funded by reallocations of the city’s American Rescue Plan funding. They include:
• Atlanta Police officers, investigators, sergeants and lieutenants will receive a $4,000 retention bonus as an incentive to remain on the force for 18 months. The bonuses will be extended to all sworn officers regardless of years of service . In all, these uniformed personnel will see total year compensation increases ranging from 5.9% to 10.25%, according to the city. Atlanta Police captains, majors and chiefs will receive $1,000 retention bonuses.
• All eligible sworn employees in fire, police, corrections and E911 will this week receive $1,000 in bonus pay. Funding for the pay bonuses comes from the State of Georgia’s Public Safety Officials and First Responders program. Eligible employees are those who were employed with the city in August 2021.
• More than 1,500 city frontline employees, including transportation, public works, parks and recreation and other workers, will receive premium pay of $4.12 per hour over their base pay. Premium pay of $3.12 per hour instituted during the COVID-19 pandemic was set to expire this month.
• Dickens is also extending additional premium pay to Department of Watershed Management employees to ensure a minimum base rate of $19.12 per hour.
The one-year pay bonuses for police and the other frontline workers follow Dickens’ request for pay increases for Atlanta Firefighters announced last week.
The Dickens Administration consulted with city employee unions, including the International Brotherhood of Police Local 623, and the City Council when considering the compensation increases.
The one-year bonuses for police and other city frontline workers are being made in advance of a pay and class study to be conducted this year, according to a city news release. The study is expected to provide guidance for future compensation for all city employees.
Last year, the City Council approved $2,500 retention bonuses to police officers who stay with the department for at least three years. Officers with more than three years on the job received $1,200. Councilmember Howard Shook, who represents Buckhead, sponsored last year’s legislation to try to slow an exodus of officers as well as boost morale.