Council approves raises for city’s patrol officers, sergeants

by Melissa Martin

Dec. 5 city council meeting

Brecksville City Council approved two pieces of legislation authorizing the mayor to enter into revised collective bargaining agreements with the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, representing the police department’s patrol officers and sergeants.

Mayor Jerry Hruby told council that in accordance with the new legislation, police sergeants and patrol officers will receive a 3% salary increase in 2024 and a 3.5% increase in 2025.

The two-year agreement, which runs through Dec. 31, 2025, stipulates that sergeants and patrol officers will receive ‘’professional pay’’ of $1,600 a year, which includes an additional $400 clothing allowance.

“Generally, we’ve tried to create parity between all city departments,” Hruby said, noting that employees in other departments received salary increases of 3-6%, depending on the position, for 2023.

Council unanimously approved both agreements.

“These seem like reasonable and consistent agreements to keep the city safe,” said Councilman Brian Stuckey.

Council authorized the city to apply for a Cuyahoga County Public Works grant to help pay for an upcoming project on Riverview Road.

Service Director Joe Kickel told council the annual grant would reimburse the city for the cost of materials and maintenance associated with the project that will affect a small section of roadway near the Cuyahoga Valley National Park maintenance area. That portion of road has a poor rating based on the Ohio Department of Transportation’s rating system.

If the funding is awarded, it could cover as much as 60% of the costs, Kickel said.

Council issued a proclamation to the city’s longtime animal warden, Cliffette Thacker, upon her retirement.

Hruby said Thacker, who began working for the city as a swimming instructor in 1993, took on the role of animal warden that same year. Over the past 31 years, Hruby said Thacker has dealt with more animals than he can count.

“She has dealt with everything from a 24-pound boa constrictor that was found off of Chapel Hill in 2019 to a 400-pound black bear that was located in the city in 2018,” Hruby said, noting that the black bear became so famous in the city that it ultimately had its own Facebook page.

Hruby also credited Thacker for reuniting numerous families with their pets and for finding homes for others. He noted what he referred to as “a Christmas miracle, when Thacker found a local home for a 16-year-old pug.

Compassion, dedication and concern, Hruby said, are the qualities he will remember most about Thacker.

“I’ve never seen anyone express such compassion for animals and for her fellow man,” Hruby told Thacker. “It was incredible watching you. … You were totally dedicated to your field and demonstrated such concern for the folks you worked with. … Whether it was a domestic or wild animal, you treated them the same. All of that has not gone unnoticed.”

Thacker thanked council, the mayor and the community and shared a handful of stories.

“I have to thank the many people I worked with – the service department and the fire department who have gone down sewers for me – and the police department who, in most cases arrived at the scene before I did,” she said. “They were always willing to help and looked out for me.”

Hruby said Thacker will be especially missed. With her retirement, the mayor becomes the city’s oldest employee. ∞