Wellsburg Council approves raises for police officers

RECOGNIZED — Sgt. Danny Casto was awarded a plaque, during Tuesday’s meeting of Wellsburg Council, in recognition of his 18 years of service to Wellsburg. Casto recently left the department to work for the city of Follansbee. -- Taryn Linder

WELLSBURG — Police officers in the city will be receiving a $1 an hour pay raise following Tuesday’s Wellsburg Council meeting.

As part of action that night, council voted 5-3 in favor of the pay increase, which will result in an additional expense of approximately $12,000 per year.

Police Chief Richard Ferguson said he is confident the police department can work within its budget with the additional expense; however, Councilman Randy Fletcher was against singling out one department.

“What about the rest of the city employees,” asked Fletcher. “Do we just throw them under the rug?”

Councilman Paul Billard said there is a plan in place to address other departments in the future.

Ferguson added the need to have a salary increase stems from needing to retain and recruit employees.

Recently, Sgt. Danny Casto, who was honored at Tuesday’s city council meeting, transferred to the Follansbee Police Department after 18 years of service in Wellsburg.

“It was tough to lose him,” said Ferguson. “He left for higher wages up there and that’s what happens. It’s how you lose highly-trained officers.”

Mayor Sue Simonetti agreed that Casto’s transfer was a loss for the city.

“He is an outstanding officer and it is sad to lose him,” Simonetti said.

In addition, the council went into an emergency executive session to discuss new hirings for the department.

The council gave Ferguson their support to increase manpower.

(Linder can be contacted at tlinder@heraldstaronline.com)