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Archive for December 27th, 2010

time out

We will be holding a meeting of the Personnel Committee to address the overtime issue in January, but I’d like to make three points:

1. Department Heads indicated during the budgeting process that allocated funding would not meet need (as you state, this is a case of “severely underestimating expenses”, as much of the OT cannot be avoided); and

2. We are hoping that once the new officer hires come on in January, APD OT will begin to level off, as the police OT budget is the most expensive and difficult to curtail of all the departments; and

3. At a certain point, if other costs (i.e., state and federal mandates, health care and retiree benefits, etc.) are not mitigated, municipalities across the State will be forced to eliminate much-needed services.

I hope the Council will come to the committee meeting with recommendations to solve this long-standing problem. We need well-researched suggestions, thoughtful deliberation and informed decision-making. Grandstanding will get us nowhere.

Lastly (I wish this were the last time I bring this up), the structure of most council committees consists of the five aldermen. We should expand these committees to include individuals from the community with specific knowledge and experience in any given area of inquiry (personnel, solid waste, budget, public safety, etc.) so that fresh ideas and perspectives come to the table. Committee mission, responsibilities and goals should be clearly articulated for each committee. This would bring new blood and order to the political process and maybe, just maybe, help resolve some of our most difficult obstacles.

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