Gloversville – Gloversville Common Council on Friday concluded its 2022 budget workshop process, hiring two new police officers instead of four to pay salaries to the city’s non-federal officers and eliminate all police officer college tuition reimbursement from the budget. Voted to do.
The Council left all personnel items to the fourth and final meeting of its budget process. During the first three meetings, the council agreed to reduce Mayor Vince DeSantis’s $19.4 million budget proposal by $96,220, a $60,000 cut from the Police Department’s proposed $3.7 million budget (19.3% of the city’s total budget), and $28,300 was deducted from the fire department. A proposed $2.5 million budget (12.8% of the city’s total budget).
The changes made by the council on Friday have led to further cuts in the budget of the police department. By reducing DeSantis’ proposal to reduce four additional police officers to two, the city would save at least $90,605 in salary and potential benefits in the range of $133,605 to $141,105, for a combined savings of between $224,210 and $322,315. .
Second Ward Councilor Art Simonds said that the debate on the council broke up between two members who did not want to hire any additional police officers and two members who wanted to appoint four more. He said the council has agreed to negotiate with the two new officers and place the two new officers on a special two-year agreement, which would entitle any police officer to the minimum base 35 police officers currently guaranteed in the city’s police union contract. Won’t add
half a million dollars
“In 2017, we added four officers to the base [number of police officers guaranteed in the contract] Bringing it down from 31 to 35,” Symonds said. “It was half a million dollars in additional annual costs at the time, so the council, as usual, couldn’t see the pile on the four other officials, bring that base to 39, because then we stuck with them forever. At least half a million dollars are added to the budget every year, which the city cannot afford. ”
Gloversville’s Police Department labor contract technically expired in 2018, but remains in place under the Triborough amendment to New York state’s Taylor law, which enforces all public workers union contracts as long as there is an agreement by both parties. The new deal is not accepted. City and police unions are in negotiations and mediation on the elements of the contract.
Simonds said the proposal to add two new police officers would be separate from the existing police contract.
“The city will allow the police department to add two new officers, but eventually those officers will go back to base. [of 35 minimum officers],” Symonds said. “So, right now, we will go up to 37, but over time it will go back to 35. This is the language we are proposing and it is currently being worked on by our labor lawyer.”
Councilman-at-Large William Roback Jr. said he decided to vote with council consensus to make it 6-1 in favor of the two-officer solution. He said his understanding of the proposal is that when two police officers retire or leave the department, two additional hired officers will move to their place as part of the minimum 35 of the contract. She said Fourth Ward councilor Alain Anadio voted against hiring the two new ones. instead of four
Roback said, “Two is better than no, if it was my choice I would have liked to see four.”
City worker picks up
The council voted unanimously to approve a $3,000 increase in salaries for the police chief, fire chief, city clerk, transit director, finance commissioner and deputy finance commissioner. The council also approved increases to $4,000 for the deputy city clerk and $5,000 for the city’s director of public works. A $6,000 cut from DeSantis’ original offer includes a $5,000 increase for deputy city clerk and $10,000 for DPW director.
DeSantis said city department heads haven’t received salaries in several years and instead received a $1,500 stipend in 2020 and 2021, which was not added to employees’ base pay.
“So, from a spending standpoint, they’re actually more like $1,500, because they won’t get the stipend anymore,” DeSantis said.
Tuition reimbursement removed
Council voted unanimously to eliminate tuition reimbursement of $39,034 in the budget, including $11,551.25 for college classes for the Mental Health Counseling Program for Officer Nicole Buckley and $27,473 for Captain Mike Garveli, who applied for a Ph.D. are doing. program at the University of Southern California.
The city’s police union contract includes a clause that reimburses police officers for 75% of the tuition costs of college courses related to being a police officer, with approval for reimbursement being offered by the police chief.
DeSantis said removing the budget item for tuition reimbursement would not prevent police officers from requesting reimbursement for courses if Police Chief Anthony “Tony” Clay approves them. He said the council would have the option of either paying the reimbursement or it could become a labor contract complaint issue.
Simonds said that throughout the time he has served on the council, he cannot recall any instance in which the council has ever seen a bill related to this police tuition reimbursement clause in the contract. He said the contract required the police chief to approve the expenditure, but also to notify the mayor. He said he does not know if due process has been handled for past spending for this program and that the council is looking at the issue more closely now that it has come to their attention.
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