|Portage puts police chief back at 40 hours|
|Written by By DEBBIE ROGERS/Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Monday, 20 July 2009 22:08|
PORTAGE — A majority of council — with a tie-breaking vote from the mayor — restored the police chief’s hours to 40 per week at Monday night’s meeting.
Wolford’s numbers also show the department has lost $33,909 so far this year.
When Mayor Wolford asked if there was discussion before the vote, Sockman said, “$33,000 loss. That’s my discussion.”
“$33,909,” said Maas.
Sockman said he didn’t want to cut the chief’s hours, but he had to be realistic about village finances. He said Portage owes $40,000 on a sewer loan at the end of the year.
The state auditor put Portage into fiscal emergency in April.
“I don’t want to lose the police department,” Sockman said, “but I do want the numbers to look good, too.”
Mayor Wolford said Bartz’s hours would be restructured to cover weekends and other busy times.
Bartz also said Monday that two officers had resigned. When he asked if he could hire another officer, Wolford told him to wait until they could see how the department would adjust to him being back to 40 hours a week.
After the meeting, the mayor said the village has lost three officers in six weeks and another is going on an extended leave. With the reinstatement of hours, the whole police department can work 82 hoursper week. Bartz is not considered full time, since the village doesn’t pay him benefits.
“I’m going to work really hard with the chief to get the coverage that we need,” Wolford said.
He also said that he doesn’t believe reinstating the chief’s hours will bankrupt Portage. He said he has a “sixth sense” about numbers and that Clerk-Treasurer Bruce Shepherd’s just don’t add up.
According to finances presented to council by Shepherd, the police department lost $1,317 in May, and four times that in previous months. The department’s costs for this year were estimated to be about $40,000 more than the $153,000 it cost to operate in 2008.
“I don’t understand where he’s getting them,” Wolford said of the numbers, adding that he doesn’t think there’s anything malicious about Shepherd’s work.
“He truly tries to explain ... it’s just not working.”
Marcia Wolford had planned to introduce the motion reinstating the chief’s hours at the July 6 meeting but there wasn’t a quorum. Maas, Sockman and Sharp were absent.
Most of the audience members spoke in favor of having a full-time police chief.
Linda Glomski said council should never have approved purchasing an $18,000 mower.
The move was a “public relations boo-boo ... by preferring a lawnmower over the police chief, which is exactly what you did.
Sharp reiterated that council looked at several options, including hiring mowers and repairing the old one, and that this was the best choice.
Glomski said council should have put the word out that volunteers were needed to mow.
“I think that there would have been people in this village would have mowed whatever cotton-pickin’ field you have,” she said. “Were’ not throwing eggs at you, but were are letting you know from these chairs that you are not doing your job.”
Front page photo caption: Portage Village Council Member Marcia Wolford made motion to put police chief back at 40-hour week. (Andrew Weber/Sentinel-Tribune)
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 July 2009 08:03|
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