Official Forgoes Pay to Urge Police Raise

In support of city police who have worked for years without a raise, Planning Commissioner Jeffrey Novak has decided to forgo his $2,000 in annual salary and benefits.

Effective immediately, the Santa Paula resident said he will take no pay for working on behalf of the city. Though he is not accepting his salary, Novak said he will continue to work and do his best.

Novak said the staffing levels at the Police Department and low pay for officers place residents in danger.

"They're basically holding the safety of Santa Paula hostage," said Novak of the City Council. On Monday the council will consider forcing a contract on city police that includes a 2% raise in base salary.

"We've made a best, last and final offer," said Julie C.T. Hernandez, assistant to the city manager. The contract would also include mandatory alcohol and drug testing of police officers and other sworn public safety employees.

For many, including Novak, the suggested raise is insufficient.

"I want the Santa Paula police officers to get their 4% raise," he said. "There is no other issue if public safety isn't taken care of."

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