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The Villages
Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Lady Lake police want salaries on par with peers in neighboring communities

Lady Lake police officers – the second-lowest paid law enforcement officers in Lake County – sat down at the bargaining table Monday morning with town officials.

Starting base pay for officers in Wildwood recently increased to $51,000, something that is loudly being trumpeted by the Wildwood Police Department as a recruiting tool. Starting pay is going up to $51,000 in Leesburg. The starting pay at the Belleview Police Department is $53,000.

The starting salary is $44,900 for police officers in Lady Lake.

The Lady Lake Police Benevolent Association is asking for $50,079 for a starting salary. The union representing the Lady Lake police is also seeking a 12 percent raise for existing officers. Officers said that recruitment has been very difficult for the Lady Lake Police Department. In addition, the officers indicated that because several officers’ positions are vacant, officers are working shifts that are not fully staffed.

“When you are working overtime or working short shifts, it’s a safety issue,” said the negotiator for the officers, Stephen Micciche, himself a former police officer.

The Lady Lake Commission had offered a 5 percent pay increase, but at the start of negotiations on Monday raised the offer to 7 percent. After bargaining with the officers’ representative for about a half hour, the town came back with a 9 percent offer.

The officers said they want “fair market value.” The town’s proposal would keep the starting base pay at less than $48,000.

After nearly two and a half hours of back and forth, the union negotiator indicated the town’s offer would not be recommended to the members of the Lady Lake Police Benevolent Association. The full membership will likely have a chance to vote on the offer prior the next Lady Lake Commission meeting which is scheduled for Sept. 7.

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