The Clayton City Council will discuss a request from the city’s police union for COVID-19-related “hero pay” for officers, funded by the city’s share of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

The idea came up during the council’s Dec. 7 meeting, when councilmembers expressed interest in the police union’s idea and about possibly expanding it to other city employees.

A staff report for the upcoming Jan. 4 meeting says “One of the identified categories of spending for ARPA funding is premium pay for essential workers defined as those working in critical infrastructure areas. In the case of local government, since all of our employees are considered disaster service workers and thus are essential workers, premium pay would be an eligible expense for all city employees.

“Further, most of the city’s employees were providing some or all services in person sooner than many in other jurisdictions as Clayton was ahead of many other cities in the county in terms of opening to the public,” the report says.

“While other city employees were able to work from home, our police officers did not have that choice. … Just like everyone else in the country, our police officers were worried about getting sick or worse yet bringing the sickness home to our loved ones.”

Rich Enea, Clayton Police Officers Association

The report suggests, if the council decides to move forward, they make one-time payments for employees employed by the city before March 3, 2021. There could be up to 18 full-time employees and two part-time employees eligible.

Clayton has received $1.45 million of ARPA funds, with less than $200,000 already spent, most of it on “Clayton Cares” grants for households, nonprofits and small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

A letter from Rich Enea, the president of the Clayton Police Officers Association, dated Dec. 2, asked for “hero pay” for police officers.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, every police officer stayed the course and continued to come to work to protect this wonderful city,” Enea wrote. “While other city employees were able to work from home, our police officers did not have that choice. During the pandemic, nobody knew what it could bring. Just like everyone else in the country, our police officers were worried about getting sick or worse yet bringing the sickness home to our loved ones. Unfortunately, one of our police officers was infected with COVID last year.”

Enea pointed out that other cities, including Concord, are compensating first-responders as well.

The Clayton City Council meets virtually at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Those interested in attending can register online to join the meeting.