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October 4, 2006 REVISED SPECIAL Meeting Minutes (w/Police Comm)
OCTOBER 4, 2006


The Special meeting was called to order at 7:40 p.m. at the East Windsor Town Hall Annex.

Board of Finance Members Present:
Paul Catino, Chairman
Marie DeSousa
William Dove
Jack Manette
Noreen Farmer
Dale Nelson
Mary Szabo, Town Treasurer

Police Commission Members Present:
Chairman Richard Sherman
D. James Barton
Lorraine Devanney
Linda Sinsigallo
Mark Simmons

Police Chief DeMarco
Sargent Hannaford

Review of Revenue and Expenditures relative to the East Windsor Police Department FY2006/2007 budget.

The first item addressed is the comparisons in overtime from last year to this year, marked as Exhibit A attached hereto and made a part hereof.  The amount of hours is better this year than we were last year.  The amount of Coverage and Non-Coverage time has also improved.  This is a good thing, there is much better control.  The budget, however, still has a problem and needs to be addressed.

The first questions relate to specific pay periods.  There is 12-16 hours of overtime coverage for other officers, how can that be?  Officers can work 2 shifts up to 16 hours per the contract.  However, it still goes through the rotation system.  An officer was scheduled off and came up on rotation for overtime and is allowed to work 16 hours.  It’s fair and legal.  Two other officers during the rotation could have rejected the overtime.  The Contract, marked as Exhibit B attached hereto and made a part hereof, allows for officers to swap shifts to cover personal times, etc. so that overtime can be avoided.  The Chief advises that the station is down officers, which is the driving force.

Another question raised as to time off regarding July 2nd and overtime.  The Chief has to honor a request for time off from up to two Police Officers and a dispatcher per shift.  Question as to what is sick time and who is eligible to work.  The Shift Schedule is as follows:

Sunday – Saturday
1st shift = 12 midnight – 8:00am
2nd shift = 8:00am – 4:00pm
3rd shift = 4:00pm – 12:0 midnight

In some instances, the sick day is considered to be in a different week.  There are two clauses regarding sick time in the contract which don’t negate each other.  The Chief advised again that he is scrutinizing the overtime within reason of the contract.

A police office can work 16 hours, be out for 8 hours and then come back in and work another shift.

Officer Mendola – is she still a rookie and has to be with another officer?  The answer is that she resigned and is no longer on the force.

Another question arose regarding overtime when not part of a shift minimum when called to court by subpoena.  Just because its not counted toward the shift minimum, the officer is fully trained and capable of making arrests, etc.

The officer not part of the shift minimum, is when they are considered to be too new to be a safe contributor.  The contract clause states a 13 week period, saw the attorney regarding it and he said that it cannot be changed.  The 13 week period applies even if they have prior experience for example 3 years, 12 years, etc.  have to compute the 13 week bid period.

The commission is currently researching with the labor department if a Police Officer is called in to go to court, etc if they are required to get a minimum of 4 hours of time even if they were only used for 60 minutes.

A new lateral transfer got to FTO then goes into the 13 week bid.

Currently the Police Department has 2 vacancies, now they have to pull from 103 candidate pool with no experience.  An evaluation is done at the end of the 13 weeks to see if you want that employee to work for you.  The Police Officer that he/she is riding with has to do a longevity report each day on the probationary Police Officer.  There is 13 weeks of field training and then enters into a contract and 13 weed bid period.

Years ago an officer finished the training and then can bid right away.  The Town was the one who set this up.  

Ultimately, on the midnight shift they end up having young officers acting as Supervisors.  They don’t run 24/7 Supervision – none needed on midnight shift.  The Chief mentions how he saved a lot of money running an ad on it was a cheaper way to advertise and they did very well with candidates.

75% of the overtime is due to contractual obligations.  Variable is meant to fill in for vacations and sick time NOT down time.  They are down 5 officer out of 14 and they just can’t handle it.  Being down 5 officers loses total balance.  They are too small of a department to be able to handle that amount of open spots.

The officers have a choice of comp time or overtime.  Comp time is at 1-1/2 times and they can accumulate 120 hours.  Comp time can be taken 3 months after or within the same fiscal year.  Comp time being requested to be taken by officers can’t be refused.

There is a concern with having to deal with anticipated officers leaving and payouts just made.  

        2 officers going to retire
        1 officer going out for back surgery – injury occurred while on duty.

Other options:

School Resource Officer
Mill Pond Officer
Can pull them but it will violate the federal mandates and there are legal ramifications.

3 shift minimum on the road and no supervision 24/7.  Cannot be a Sargent until 4 years and take tests, etc, but they can tell a young officer your now acting Chief because there is no supervision.  There are 6 Sargent’s in patrol – work all 3 shifts, need 6 but there will be overtime.

The Chief would like to see (The 5 Year Plan):

        1 Sargent
        1 Dispatcher
        2 Officer on the road
This will allow for backup and coverage.

75% of the overtime is due to contractual obligations and is considered fixed and will not go away.  Fixed overtime covers holidays.

Approval of appropriate actions relative to East Windsor Police Department FY2006/2007 budget.

There is a problem with the budget dollars spent this year that was supposed to be paid last year.  

$13,000 of comp time – Police Officers allowed to have 3 months to decide to get paid for it.  The settlement that was mentioned has to be paid in FY07  There were many boards involved and agencies negotiating, etc and then told to do this.  The Chief explained he couldn’t get total numbers.

Comp time – the Chief works with everyone individually on the comp time.  Some wait it out before they decide to burn it off or to get paid.

The Grant money – if we pull the school resource there is specific language and penalties would be face.

A question was raised as to the current open grants for overtime DWI stops, set buckles, etc.  Shouldn’t we see some offset?  The answer is the overtime will be more, very few Police Department grants.

A statement was made that the Board of Finance may be difficult, but the Board of Finance typically are persuaded by presentations given, etc and are given information to obtain a comfort level.  We can’t ignore a large citizenry there that don’t get all the information and aren’t persuaded.  The Town doesn’t see what the Board does and more money being spent.  Be careful, there is a chance when we recommend to Town Meeting it won’t be granted.

Clearly progress has been made.  The Board of Finance is a picnic compared to the citizenry out there.  The 2 Boards can now go to the Town Meeting as a group and present it to the public and get it passed.

The Board needs to think about the amount and the period of time for moving the money from contingency fund to the Police Department line item.  The Police Commission was not aware that the money was moved out of the Police Department overtime budget request and put into contingency.  The Board advised that the discussion was made public and put on the front cover with a *.

Dick presented the issue that they can only come for an added appropriation 1x and if this moving of the money goes to a public hearing, its considered an added appropriation.

The Board of Finance may need to let it continue for 2 weeks to come up with a figure to present to move and to get more information on the 1x appropriation.

Suggestion to continue the dialogue between the two Boards and that the Board of Finance is clearly learning from the Police Commission and it expects that the Police Commission is learning from the Board of Finance.

The Board of Finance will investigate the statutory issue.  The Police Commission added that it is never intended a June assault when coming in for more money, its always been to wait until the end of the year to have a good number because you only get 1 added appropriation.

Meeting adjourned at 9:28pm

MOTION:  To adjourn the meeting.

        Ms. Farmer / Ms. DeSousa

Respectfully submitted,

Lori P. Holden
Recording Secretary