Galesburg Council raises starting salaries for police and fire chiefs

Galesburg City Administration is concerned after a city council vote Monday night that they might struggle with a shallow applicant pool in hiring the next police chief.

The administration asked alderman to approve bumps in the salary range for the police and fire chief, with the incumbents exempt, asking for the raise out of concern that the current scale was lower than chiefs in comparable towns.

City Attorney Brad Nolden informed the council that relying on a compensation study of comparable cities, that even with the administration’s original recommendation the salary range is well below comparable cities in the market.

Police Chief Dave Christensen will retire this year and City Manager Todd Thompson says Fire Chief Tom Simkins is expected to in the next few years.

Thompson tried to impress this on aldermen, “You’re going to have problems, I think, attracting candidates and problems with comparability to what people in the police department already make.”

That’s because at least three other senior members of the GPD make more than what the next chief would make if he was hired at the bottom of the scale.

Alderman Larry Cox, also a retired Public Works Director for the city, says you may not have to look hard to find other employment roles in the city that are underpaid. “I believe if you did a compensation study for other positions in the city, you would find the same thing with other positions being much below what they pay in Peoria, or Moline, cities like that,” he said at the meeting.

The police chief and fire chief’s starting salary was raised by $8,000, versus the $17,000 and $12,000 raise administration wanted. Both the amendment to the resolution, and the final vote were unanimous.

Both the amendment to the resolution, and the final vote were unanimous.

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