Officers Go Pagerless in Protest: Alexandria Police Seek More Money

Article excerpt

Alexandria police officers yesterday handed over their department-issued alphanumeric pagers in a symbolic and noisy protest over pay in front of police headquarters.

More than 75 officers lined up, threw their pagers into a plastic bag and tossed the bag into a cardboard box, where some activated devices continued to rattle and beep.

"It is a symbolic gesture to show that we are sick and tired of the pay inequities," said Detective Tim Gleeson, the president of Alexandria Police Association.

Union officials said salaries have remained stagnant since 1993, when officers gave up their pay scale and pay raises to help the city "overcome its financial difficulties."

The following year, police were promised 3 percent increases, but every year since the mayor and City Council have voted for 2 percent raises.

"We want what you took away from us in 1993," Detective Gleeson said.

According to a study by consultants Watson Wyatt Worldwide, commissioned by the City Council last year, Alexandria officers are the lowest-paid among neighboring jurisdictions.

An officer with five years of experience in Alexandria makes $35,292, compared with $38,946 in Arlington County, $39,353 in Fairfax County, $40,373 in Falls Church and $38,526 in Fairfax City, according to the report, dated Dec. 13.

Alexandria Mayor Kerry J. Donley called yesterday's union action premature.

"The council just received that report last week," he said. …