MEMPHIS, TN – For the first time in almost a decade, a mayor of Memphis has met with members of the Memphis Police Association. It’s a story you will see only on Local 24 News.
Mayor Jim Strickland says he told police the city is in rough financial shape, yet he wants to try to keep current officers on the job. Officers told the mayor they want at least some benefits back.
The Memphis Police Association members had a chance to sit down and talk with Mayor Jim Strickland about their concerns. And they boil down to the benefits.”
It’s been almost ten years since a Memphis mayor has met with members of the police union.
“I came in November and had a very pleasant welcome. I expect this to be another…this won’t be the last time I’m here either,” said Strickland.
Let’s make one thing clear. There are a lot of police officers who don’t like Jim Strickland. They don’t like the fact that he voted to change and cut their benefits over the past few years. They don’t like the fact that he’s mayor, defeating Memphis Police Association president Mike Williams. They don’t think he’s doing enough to help the financial troubles that are smacking Memphis around these days.
“Talk to some of the lawmakers. Change some laws. Represent this city, outside of this city, to be able to bring in and allow opportunities for this city to right itself,” said Williams.
The mayor met with the group for about an hour. There was no yelling, no screaming. But officers did say their biggest concerns remain the changes in health insurance and benefits. Mayor Strickland says he heard them.
“Oh absolutely. I don’t blame them for that. I just wanted them to know the financial constraints we have which are real,” said Strickland.
It’s all about the benefits, Mike Williams says.
“They were able to get their point across without being angry. But I think he really understands what they want and what they’re expecting.”
Whether this meeting is successful or not will depend on what the city council does and the budget talks, which are down the road a bit. But all of these folks will be watching.