A half-dozen training officers still waiting for their July 2021 raises

By: - January 26, 2022 12:54 pm
Don Arp, Jr., head of Nebraska Crime Commission

Don Arp Jr., head of the Nebraska Crime Commission, testified Tuesday Jan. 25, 2011, before the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee. (Paul Hammel/Nebraska Examiner)

LINCOLN – Six instructors at the state’s Law Enforcement Training Center in Grand Island will soon get 13% raises — seven months after they were approved by state lawmakers.

The case of the delayed salary increases came up Tuesday during a hearing before the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee. 

The committee’s chairman, State Sen. John Stinner of Gering, asked the director of the Nebraska Crime Commission why the wage hikes hadn’t yet gone into effect. They were included in the state budget that was effective last July 1. The Crime Commission oversees the center that trains the state’s law enforcement officers.

The Legislature included $53,407 for the raises during the current fiscal year and $55,009 in 2022-23.

Don Arp Jr., executive director of the Crime Commission, told Stinner there was a “technical” problem that was being worked out.

“It’s an unfortunate hiccup, but we’re trying to get it resolved as fast as we can,” Arp told the Nebraska Examiner on Wednesday, when asked for more detail on the issue.

Arp said he was still working with the state personnel office to get the glitch worked out.

Officials with the personnel office, which is part of the State Department of Administrative Services, did not respond immediately to a request for comment about the tardy pay hikes. 

But further reporting by the Examiner concluded the raises should soon show up in paychecks of the trainers, who are certified law enforcement officers.

Justin Hubly, executive director of the state employees union, the Nebraska Association of Public Officials, said labor negotiators with the state recently contacted him to renegotiate the labor contract governing the training officers. 

Hubly said it took only two days for the union to agree to a change in the contract. The raises, he said, should be turning up in the trainers’ next paychecks  in two weeks. The raises are not retroactive to July 1, Hubly added.

The pay hike increases the starting wage for such training officers to $27 an hour, according to state budget figures. Raising the base pay translates into raises for all trainers, including those with several years of service.

Hubly said he first became aware of the raises last week. He said he did not know why it took until January for the state to ask to renegotiate the contracts for the trainers but did not think it was a technical glitch.

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Paul Hammel
Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska Legislature and Nebraska state government for decades. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation, a member of the Nebraska Hop Growers and a volunteer caretaker of Irvingdale Park in Lincoln.