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‘No sense of urgency:’ Duval police union laments slow-moving salary negotiations with city

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Duval’s local police union claims Mayor Donna Deegan’s administration is dragging its feet when it comes to negotiating a new contract for police and corrections officers.

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According to statistics produced by the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, at $52,500 a year, starting police salaries in Duval are 19% lower than in other similarly sized counties in Florida on average.

At just under $46,000 a year, starting salaries for corrections officers in the Bold City are 37% lower on average compared to similar-sized municipalities.

The local union is asking the city to raise starting salaries up to roughly $65,000 for police and corrections officers in the upcoming budget, with 4% increases in 2025 and 2026.

But FOP Lodge 5-30 President Randy Reaves argued the city doesn’t seem to be prioritizing the negotiations.

“Just no sense of urgency,” said Reaves.

In an email sent to all JSO employees, Reaves called the Deegan Administration’s request for a two-week extension to finalize a counteroffer “troubling”.

Reaves noted other cities like Tampa have already moved to increase law enforcement salaries since negotiations in Jacksonville began three months ago.

“As we sit here and keep dragging our feet on getting a contract in, all these other comparable cities, again, are getting pay raise after pay raise making it way more lucrative to go be a police officer of correction officer somewhere else,” said Reaves.

When asked about the delay, the mayor’s office provided a statement to Action News Jax.

“The City of Jacksonville values the critical and often dangerous work performed by our first responders. In good faith, we have made substantial progress in the current collective bargaining process. Accordingly, we are diligently working on a fair wage proposal that appropriately recognizes employees and competitiveness in the market while balancing City resources,” said a spokesperson for the mayor’s office.

But Reaves argued when it comes to salaries, no progress has been made.

Ultimately, Reaves argued the longer it takes to reach a deal, the greater risk the city runs of failing to attract recruits to replace officers leaving the field.

JSO is expected to lose 25% of its officers over the next three years - Subtracting from an agency that’s already short roughly 180 corrections officers and has struggled to fill its police recruitment classes beyond 50%.

“I don’t know if they fully grasp how important these next three years are gonna be when it comes to public safety, when it comes to police and corrections here in Jacksonville. And it’s something that if we do not fix, again, we will be in crisis mode in the next few years,” said Reaves.

The Deegan Administration is set to finalize its counteroffer by April 12th.

Reaves said he looks forward to continuing negotiations once that happens.

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