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'To also protect our officers and firemen': Warner Robins police and firefighters wait for retention, sign-on bonuses

Mayor LaRhonda Patrick says this year, police officers and firefighters who qualify would receive one-third of the bonus.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Months after passing, Warner Robins police and fire fighters are still waiting for their $4,000 bonuses. 

That includes new hires in each of those departments who are still waiting for $4,000 signing bonuses.

Mayor and council introduced the idea of these bonuses at a city council meeting in May.

They approved the bonuses in July and set the tax rate to pay for them last month.

But so far, zero public safety workers have seen that extra money land in their pockets. 

After months of planning, the mayor says the money is set for the bonuses.

"I'm just excited to know that our officers are going to get these bonuses and I can't wait to see their faces when they actually receive that check," Patrick said.

Mayor LaRhonda Patrick says none of their police officers or fire fighters have received their money yet.

"We did have to wait until after the millage rate was approved, because those were all things we added into our budget, so if there was a rollback, then that's something we would have had to taken back," Patrick said.

Patrick says before they give out the bonuses there's one more step.

The city attorney must finish an acknowledgement of conditions contract by her request.

"I don't believe putting things out there and not backing it up in writing, so that's why we've elected to do this document to protect us and to also protect our officers and firemen, so they understand exactly how they earn those bonuses," Patrick said.

13WMAZ asked if the departments knew about this contract and its conditions.

Patrick said she met with the police officers and that she has a "good line of communication" with both of the departments.

"There may be some that doesn't know and they're are some that do know. My officers and firefighters are really dedicated and they work really hard and they know I am a woman of my word and so they know it is going to come, so they are standing here waiting on it," Patrick said.

Patrick says once the contract draft gets to her office, she'll approve it and present it to council.

Then police officers and firefighters get the option to sign the contract and receive their bonuses.

She expects they'll see some bonus money in their accounts before the new year.

On Wednesday, 13WMAZ learned about some of the conditions Patrick wants in those contracts.

This year, police officers and fire fighters who qualify would receive one third of that bonus.

Patrick says then, "in the coming fiscal years," they will receive the other two thirds.

If they get a promotion or leave the departments, "they forfeit the rest of those bonuses."

The city's records department says since the council passed the 2023 budget this spring, the fire department hired six firefighters and the police department hired three officers.

13WMAZ reached out to council.

They did not comment.

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