Not that long ago, when proponents of the latest tax rededication looked for support, they were greeted with one question they could not answer: What about money for raises?
Actually, that’s not true. They did answer that question. There is still no money for raises. The most recent rededication has gone toward new police cars, new equipment and a true general reserve fund.
And it passed ... easily. People saw what it was going to be used for and said, “We need that. We will help pay for that.” In fact, they knew that none of this money would be able to go toward raises. Some raised questions. Some issued complaints. But most voted for the tax measure because the alternative would be frightening.
During the campaign for the rededication, however, there were rumblings and whispers. Turnover was great among Conway employees. Things had been promised that haven’t been followed through. If raises are not addressed soon, someone may sue. That’s what some people said.
Well, it has finally happened.
Two Conway city employees — one police officer and one firefighter — have filed a lawsuit against the city, not for the most recent rededication where they told the truth about not being able to give employee raises, but for a resolution 11 years ago that was supposed to be dedicated solely to providing compensation to police, firefighters, sanitation and all other city employees.
We are not lawyers, nor do we know whether this case has any merit. If we did, we’d probably be hanging out with Dan Abrams and making a lot more money.
But whatever happens with the case, one thing is clear. The Mayor and the City Council have to make proper compensation of its employees a top priority in the coming months. Conway’s residents deserve the best when it comes to police, fire and other services, but it is hard to persuade quality applicants when they find out that raises have not been issued for years.
Deal with the lawsuit. Fix the problem. Pay the employees. It’s the right thing to do, and it is years overdue.
It shouldn’t take a lawsuit to bring this issue to light.