Thursday, July 12, 2007

City Council Agenda, item of interest

Council Bill 2007-225

Submitted by Police Chief Lynn Rowe, approved for Council action by Assistant City Manager Evelyn Honea (some paraphrasing):

Proposal to:

Section 1:

...delete one full time equivalent position of Police Major, LES-15; delete one full time equivalent position of Police Captain, LES-13, and add two full time equivalent positions of Police Lieutenant, LES-12.

Section 2:

...delete one full time equivalent position of Administrative Assistant, PAT-4, add one full time equivalent position of Office Administrator, PAT-5; delete one part time equivalent position of Office Specialist, PAT-4, add one full time equivalent position of Office Specialist, PAT, PAT-4.

Purpose: improve efficiency in the Police Department.

Remarks: better utilize budgeted salary resources, the Police Department is proposing to eliminate a Police Captain and a Police Major position and re-structure so that there will be three opperating divisions instead of four.

Those salary savings will fund two additional Lieutenant positions to be used ot provide additional field supervision. It will also allow an upgrade for one part time Office Specialist to a full time position...and upgrade one Administrative Assistant position to an Office Administrator position. Both of these non-sworn support positions will help the operation of the new Division that will be created as a result of the merge of the Administrative and Support Services Divisions.

These changes will result in a small savings in the Personnel Budget and can be accomplished within the Police Department Budget for fiscal year 2007-2008.

Okay, so the Chief of Police is proposing to consolidate and merge Administrative and Support Services Divisions so that a division can be cut and a small savings gained to stretch the Police Department's budget for the year.

What I find disturbing is that the Chief of Police is forced to juggle and eliminate a division, consolidating others, to save money in the Police Department's Personnel budget AFTER the City Manager's office insisted it had to fill another Assistant City Manager position when the budget for Springfield was being debated.

Meanwhile, Conrad Griggs wrote an editorial column for the Springfield News-Leader championing a 1% sales tax for funding a police/fire pension fund that he thinks should be discontinued after supporting it throughout his years on Council by voting it into its current underfunded condition.

AND, Vincent David Jericho is reporting this morning (July 12, 2007, KSGF Podcasts > ) that the City runs the garage responsible for police cruiser repairs and upkeep, collects a better than market price for providing the service to the police department and the revenue they make from the auto shop goes right back into Springfield's general revenue.

Wouldn't it be nice if the City of Springfield got its priorities straight?

Wouldn't it be nice if City Managers were as willing to tighten their belts and ferret out savings, making sacrifice if necessary as is the Chief of Police?

I don't know how Chief Rowe continues to manage such loyalty to a City which CLEARLY doesn't regard his department as a priority.

It isn't enough that the City failed the police and fire fighters by not funding their pensions, and I don't care how complicated the issue is, bottom line, we have a police department that ranks among the lowest in the nation on pay and benefits, has sacrificed raises to see the police/fire pension fund be funded and then it isn't funded anyway, THEN we find they are having to sacrifice a division at the department to make ends meet.

Oh, and of course, city staff recommends approval .


P Campbell said...

That's why I'm a little perturbed that newly-minted council person, Cynthia Rushefsky, didn't press department heads much harder on cutting their budgets. It seems she merely accepted their claims that there simply wasn't any fat to cut. I find that difficult to believe.

Jacke M. said...

On what do you base your assessment of Rushefsky, P Campbell?

I ask because I haven't gotten the same impression you have.