- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 9, 2012

D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier has signed a new five-year contract with the District that keeps her current $253,000-a-year salary in place, Mayor Vincent C. Gray confirmed Wednesday.

The agreement also foregoes any annual bonuses or raises.

“The chief and I agreed that the current compensation is fair, and it recognizes the exceptional job that she has done,” Mr. Gray said Wednesday, praising her work on community policing and reducing the District’s homicide rate. He said the chief’s salary is “good.”

“It’s more than I make, and she deserves it,” he said.

Chief Lanier, whose salary was $175,000 when she started on the job in 2007, will be eligible for a 5 percent retention raise in 2015 under the new contract, Mr. Gray said. Retention raises of 15 percent are typical for police officers after 20 years on the force. Chief Lanier’s retention raise would go into effect at her 25th year with the department.

The contract agreement was signed Tuesday and comes a day after the department’s Fraternal Order of Police filed a lawsuit to prevent the chief from being involved as management in “making compensation-related decisions in the collective-bargaining process.”

Rank-and-file officers last received raises in 2007 and their current collective-bargaining agreement expired at the end of fiscal 2008, FOP President Kristopher Baumann said.

“We cannot keep officers, and we cannot hire enough officers, because we have not had a contract in five years and we do not have competitive benefits. No cost-of-living raises, no compensation increases for five years — while, at the same time, the chief has increased her personal compensation by over 35 percent,” Mr. Baumann said. “The fact that the mayor and this city would give one person a contract without taking care of the rank and file is unforgivable.”

The lack of a contract has had little to any effect on the number of officers leaving the department, Mr. Gray said.

“I don’t think the attrition has increased at all. In fact I think it’s gone down a little bit,” he said. “We think we have a great police force in the city, and it’s a great place to work. I think that’s evidenced by the number of people who want to come here to work.”

A copy of Chief Lanier’s contract was not made available Wednesday.

The D.C. Council need not approve Chief Lanier’s new contract — nor did it approve her last one — but it likely will address legislation from the mayor that alters facets of her severance and longevity pay, council member Phil Mendelson said.

“The public is very happy with her,” said Mr. Mendelson, at-large Democrat and chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary. “Every poll shows she’s possibly the most popular government official” in the city.

Former Mayor Adrian M. Fenty appointed Chief Lanier head of the department after his election in 2006. A high public-approval rating and reductions in homicides earned her continued endorsement when Mr. Gray took office last year.

Terry Lynch, executive director of the Downtown Cluster of Congregations, praised the steps the department has taken under her leadership to be more responsive to residents’ concerns and inquiries.

“My overall sense is she is worth the money in that she has really changed the culture in terms of making it a community police force,” he said. “Is it still a tremendous amount of money compared to what most people make? Absolutely.”

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