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Posted on Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Police chief asking Ann Arbor City Council for boost to overtime budget

By Ryan J. Stanton

Police Chief John Seto says Ann Arbor would have a stronger police department if the City Council approves a tentative budget plan unveiled Monday night.

Authorized staffing levels in the city's police and fire departments would remain unchanged under the plan, but Seto believes a sizable boost in the police overtime budget could go a long way.

Seto, who oversees both police and fire as the city's safety services administrator, gave an overview of the budget requests for both departments during a special council work session.


Police Chief John Seto appears before the Ann Arbor City Council during a special work session Monday night.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The police budget assumes $24.2 million in baseline expenses to start next fiscal year on July 1, and Seto is requesting an additional $263,312, bringing the budget up to nearly $24.5 million.

Seto is asking for an extra $205,787 for police overtime, plus another $70,000 for excess comp time to be paid out as overtime, $28,000 to provide funding to Washtenaw County for existing animal control services, and more than $18,5000 for materials and supplies.

Some of those requests are partially offset by proposed reductions in other line items. Separate from Seto's requests, $19,000 in increased overtime already is built into the police budget.

The police department's budget has been squeezed over the years to the point that the department has held off on filling vacant positions for fear it might experience overtime cost overruns, Seto said.

Having more flexibility with overtime, he said, would help ease the situation and get the police department back up to full strength.

"For instance, my authorized FTE is 119 right now, and it has been for the last couple of years," he said. "We have not been close to that targeted 119. Currently we're at 113.

"So we're always battling with balancing our ability to fill those positions with the overtime impact," he added. "I believe that is not a good policy to proceed with."

Seto provided a breakdown of the department's $1.17 million overtime budget (a two-year average not including communications), showing $322,000 is reimbursable for contracted services, including officers provided during University of Michigan football and basketball games.

About $137,000 is for investigative overtime, $64,000 is for patrol overtime and nearly $645,000 falls into another category that includes holiday double-time pay and overtime pay for the time officers spend appearing in court for traffic hearings and other matters.

Council Member Sumi Kailasapathy, D-1st Ward, asked Seto if he had done an analysis to determine if it makes more sense to pay more overtime instead of hiring more officers.


Council Member Sumi Kailasapathy, D-1st Ward, listens to a budget presentation from city staff Monday night.

Ryan J. Stanton |

"In areas that we can optimize and reduce overtime, we will continue to try to do that, but the window is smaller because most of it is contractual or reimbursed overtime," Seto said.

Council Member Jane Lumm, an Independent who represents the 2nd Ward, told Seto she'd like to see data for the last 10 years that show the number of sworn officers in Ann Arbor each year and the amount of overtime paid each year.

During his presentation to council, Seto noted the police department's projected budget includes the cost of keeping three school liaison officers that had been covered under a contract with Ann Arbor Public Schools for many years until the school board decided to stop paying for them this past year.

"The cost of those three school officers has been absorbed into the budget," he said. "So in essence we're getting three additional officers for me to deploy in our operations."

Seto provided only a brief explanation of the added costs for animal control services. The county has wrestled with how to fund animal control services over the past two years.

"This was a request from the county to assist in their funding for animal control," Seto said. "They do have two animal control officers that do assist the city while they're on duty."

Without additional adjustments, the fire department's baseline expenses are slated to rise to $14.4 million in the next fiscal year. That includes maintaining four firefighter positions that were added to the budget this past year — three of which are grant-funded for another year.

Seto and Fire Chief Chuck Hubbard are asking for another $94,526 on top of that to cover a handful of items, including positions changes and step increases, uniform and equipment costs, and some new thermal imaging cameras. That would bring the department's budget up to $14.5 million.

The fire department has 86 full-time employees and is at full strength right now.

Seto said at this point he's not requesting additional staffing in the police or fire departments, but that will be something council could discuss as the budget process moves along.

The City Council is expected to vote on a final budget at its May 20 meeting. Between now and then, the schedule includes a March 11 work session, another work session March 25 if needed, release of the city administrator's recommended budget April 15, and public hearings May 6.

Ann Arbor officials readily acknowledged Monday night that one of the impacts of the city's budget reductions over the past decade has been a reduced police force, while a reduction in fire staffing has created deployment challenges for the Ann Arbor Fire Department.

Seto said proactive policing efforts have been reduced and the department has become primarily reactive, while downtown beat officers were cut.

"That was probably one of the more visible reductions that we've had," he said. "Ten years ago we probably had about eight officers assigned to beat areas."


Tom Crawford, the city's chief financial officer, gives a budget overview Monday night.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Seto said the city's officers are now deployed to be reactive and he believes the department has been effective, particularly with regard to a spike in home invasions last year.

"As far as reacting to those types of crimes … we have made a lot of significant arrests, and that's due to our reactive policing," he said. "From August through February of this year, in six months' time, we've arrested 20 different individuals for home invasions and closed out 70 cases."

In the first six weeks of 2013, Seto said, home invasions are down now.

"From a reactive response, I think we're being very effective, but I don't have much flexibility left," he said, adding "something's gotta give" in order to get more proactive and do more community engagement.

Mayor John Hieftje said it's hard to say if the City Council will take any action to increase staffing levels in police or fire this year.

"If you take a look at what our projected revenues are, it's hard to see any room in there, because the city government is extremely slim," he said.

"If we had a better outlook, I could see us adding a few folks on the police and fire side, and we may yet find a way to do that, but we're certainly not there now."

Hieftje said he thinks all of the special requests for police and fire that were outlined Monday night, including an increased overtime budget for police, will be supported by council.

However, he expects some of the requests in other departments' budgets will be trimmed down to "just what's needed" by the time the city administrator's budget comes out.

"We're at a point now where, coming out of the recession, we can't celebrate yet," he said. "Things are looking good, but we're already projecting some problems in future years that we need to be cognizant of, but I can assure anybody that the city operation is extremely lean at this time."

Hieftje said it's important to note there are two police departments in Ann Arbor, and the University of Michigan has an additional 55 armed and sworn officers to match the city's force.

Tom Crawford, the city's chief financial officer, gave an updated financial forecast that included some detailed budget projections at Monday night's meeting.

He said the city's two-year budget outlook calls for maintaining existing service levels while permitting some one-time expenses, including addressing deferred maintenance needs.

Crawford noted it's the first year since he's been the city's CFO that he's seen city departments requesting funding increases instead of proposing reduction plans.

The city is expecting a 2.3 percent increase in general fund property tax revenues in the next fiscal year, a 6 percent increase in state shared revenue, and a 20 percent increase in parking revenues from the Downtown Development Authority. Overall, the city is forecasting general fund revenues will increase 3.9 percent next year, while expenses tick up 2.3 percent.

Crawford said it's the year after that presents a challenge. The city predicts a 1.5 percent increase in general fund revenues and a 3.3 percent increase in expenditures in 2014-15.

Costs going up include payroll, pension contributions, retiree health care contributions, electricity, vehicle costs and debt service for capital projects.

Crawford is projecting $82.3 million in recurring revenues and $80.8 million in recurring expenditures in the general fund next year, leaving a nearly $1.48 million surplus to work with.


City of Ann Arbor

But that's before factoring in $698,000 in recurring funding requests from departments that would drop the general fund surplus down to $779,000.

Additionally, there are another $431,000 in one-time expenditures and nearly $1.3 million in capital improvement requests in the general fund that council will have to consider. If everything was funded, Crawford said, the city would operate at a $950,000 deficit in the coming year.

Projections for 2014-15 show the annual deficit would grow to nearly $3.5 million if everything was funded that year as well. Even before considering one-time costs, balancing recurring revenues against recurring expenditures in 2014-15 leaves a $514,000 deficit.

"We still have some challenges for this year," Crawford said. "We can't meet all the needs, so in the remaining couple of months we have an opportunity to rationalize those needs.

"We, of course, will continue to be as efficient as we can on the operations and investments, but at this point there are enough delayed needs that are greater than the resources we have still," he added. "But we're in a lot better shape than we have been."

Crawford didn't give specifics Monday night, but he said city employees are stretched thin in some departments and the city could deliver services better if it filled some staffing holes. The city's full-time employee count has dropped from 1,005 to less than 700 since 2001.

Crawford doesn't expect any notable changes in FTE counts, though.

"We have no recurring resources to add FTEs in this budget that I see, unless we re-prioritize, make some cuts someplace, and pull it from someplace else," he said. "What we do have is some one-time monies to deal with some issues we have, but they're not monies to hire FTEs."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Cendra Lynn

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 2:20 a.m.

John Seto is an excellent Chief and we are lucky to have him. His loyalty to the department and to Ann Arbor is demonstrated by his staying with this position despite the negative responses from top City administration. I don't know where the mayor gets the idea that he can speak about what can and cannot be done with the budget. He is not in charge of it. Sadly, Karen Sydney is no longer with us to pull facts out of Tom Crawford's bafflegab, half-truths, and probably some untruths. Hear this once more: Without public safety we have nothing. Without police and fire protection we cannot survive as a city. With fire stations still closed, we are NOT fully staffed in that department. Our police are pushed to the limit yet they still risk their lives for us, as three of them did to rescue the woman in the burning house on Packard. GIVE CHIEF SETO WHATEVER HE REQUESTS.

Frustrated in A2

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 6:35 a.m.

To this day I don't know why the mayor puts so much faith in a police department that doesn't have jurisdiction in his city. Unless it happens on campus how about you get UMPD out of your head mayor, they are not your officers.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 5:02 a.m.

Don't know if anyone is still reading the comments to this Stale Story, but here goes: I am pro-LEO, but I Know from decades of first-hand experience that hundreds of hours of OT are Wasted by LEO's sitting around in the jury box in court, awaiting contested ticket hearings. Back in the day Maybe that was O.K. However, now that we are into the Second Decade of the 21st Century, people (including LEOs) are driving around with Smart Phones and Apple iPads. City govt must hold the Feet-to-the-Fire of our three Handsomely Paid Ann Arbor City Judges!!! LEO "sitting-in-court" time can be Slashed by applying technology and hiring a part-time (3 hrs on Tuesday and Thursday evenings) Magistrate to accommodate Ticket-Receiving Citizens. Afternoon Shift LEO's can be called-in if the ticket is contested. Sure, you would have to pay the part-time Magistrate, but it would be a "dwarf" compared to the "giant" of the money saved on LEO OT. Prediction: the Police Union will oppose this Sensible suggestion because implementation would impact on their "Retirement Scam" of salary earned when they near retirement. Further prediction: Our three (3) city-paid District Judges will not "rock the boat." More's the pity. Gutless! Pathetic!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 8:43 p.m.

The real money is in traffic violations...........write more tickets

Ryan J. Stanton

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 8:07 p.m.

Here's the link to our other budget story out of last night's meeting:

Jay Thomas

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:42 p.m.

1. We need the beat cops back. Use the Downtown development money if necessary (they already use it for the homeless). 2. We need to know whether overtime makes sense versus hiring new people (as raised by Sumi in council). I recall Madison, WI. had bus drivers working 80hrs/week because they wanted the overtime and the union fighting tooth and nail to keep it that way when new people could have been hired in a bad economy. Is that the case here? I Have no way to tell....


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 5:24 p.m.

You have to wonder what Jane Lumm will gain by making city employees work overtime to give her 10 years worth of information about police overtime. What difference does that make? Just look at what the needs are now and make a decision.

Cendra Lynn

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 2:21 a.m.

Absolutely. Just where has she been that she does not know the high integrity of the Police Department and especially John Seto.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 8:45 p.m.

It's easier to study something to death than make a politically sensitive decision...................

Ryan J. Stanton

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:43 p.m.

I believe she's looking to see how OT costs change as staffing levels change to get a better sense of the correlation and to help determine if it makes more sense to add staffing versus add money to the OT budget. Unless there are coding problems with running a report going back 10 years, it shouldn't take the city's finance and accounting department all that long to tally up the OT pay for each of the last several years, and the reports on the number of FTEs year to year already exist.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 5:14 p.m.

"Ann Arbor officials readily acknowledged Monday night that one of the impacts of the city's budget reductions over the past decade has been a reduced police force, while a reduction in fire staffing has created deployment challenges for the Ann Arbor Fire Department." Enough! Ann Arbor has some of the highest tax rates around and spends like crazy on fluff (pipe-dream planning, public art, etc.) Why don't we have money for an adequate police force?!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

no, no, no. they make too much money on the clock to get overtime. Trim the budget, don't find new ways to explode it.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:32 p.m.

1. Cops have a difficult job; 99% boredom; 1% sheer terror. Only on "asterisk." 2. Three shifts a day: Days, Afternoons and Midnights = 24/7. 3. Every month you change shifts. Going from Midnights to Days, you have to "Sleep Fast." 4. City AAPD budget = $24M. County Road Comm budget = $30M. 5. If the District Court judges would co-operate, hundreds of hours of "waiting in court time" by officers could be slashed! Use cell phones to contact cops if defendant wants a hearing. In the past "court time" by officers has been an abuse of taxpayer dollars. Near the end of their career it has been used to goose-up retirement pay.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

Come on, just take the money from the DDA.............

Jay Thomas

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:32 p.m.

If they use it to replace the beat cops that would make perfect sense.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:18 p.m.

I also agree the City is better off without a DDA and full-time Art connoisseur.

Tom Todd

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

More money to CEO's

Ryan J. Stanton

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:10 p.m.

Here are some other notes from the 2013-14 budget impact sheets: --$268,930 net increase in hydropower budget, including $200,000 for Barton Dam embankment repairs. Budget notes noncompliance could result in significant federal monetary penalties, in addition to potential failure resulting in downstream flooding with risk to life and safety. --$106,224 increase in Argo & Gallup canoe livery revenue from higher usage of Argo Cascades and river recreation in general (comes with corresponding $66,339 expense increase) --$58,000 revenue increase from Cobblestone Farm due to higher activity and proposed fee increases (comes with corresponding $20,000 expense increase resulting from higher staffing and contracted service needs to accommodate additional usage) --$23,500 decrease in revenue at Vets Rink due to drops in instructional skating participation and rink rentals, partially offset by increased participation and revenue in adult hockey leagues (comes with corresponding $15,000 savings from lower operating costs) --$16,500 lower revenue from Mack Pool --$11,167 to move city administrator from medical waiver to medical insurance --$40,333 to increase part-time HR tech specialist from 0.625 to 1.00 FTE ($84,044 to $124,377) --$80,000 to hire accounting manager to backfill retirement of accountant (double hired until February 2014 as a one-time succession planning cost)

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:02 p.m.

"Seto noted the police department's projected budget includes the cost of keeping three school liaison officers that had been covered under a contract with Ann Arbor Public Schools for many years until the school board decided to stop paying for them this past year." Now that's job security! So that's three more cops, hopefully on the street.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:02 p.m.

Just think if the general fund had all those dollars being skimmed and misdirected by the DDA. Then the ELECTED city representatives could allocated the dollars to where they were most needed instead of the DDA's pet project of the week.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:09 p.m.

How about the DDA pay for foot patrol officers? It's like the fleet maintenance division, just another way to shuffle the deck without actually paying anyone.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:59 p.m.

With a requested budget of $24.5 million and 113 FTE that means it costs the city about $216,800 per FTE. I believe we need more manpower on the police department, so that we can hope to prevent crime as opposed to just reporting on it. That said, the cost of an FTE seems to be extremely high. Like most governments, the management of costs is not effectivvely managed.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

I continue to be shocked that managers do not know how to manage to given financial objectives. It seems that they always want more, especially if they work for governments where tax payers are responsible for all bills. The answer in this case should be - no, thanks. Go figure!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

Police officers should have the EXACT same restrictions on overtime that truck drivers have. I do NOT want a sleep deprived officer on duty. And please stop with the idea that overtime happens because police work in unpredictable. You don't get 30+ hours of overtime in a week because of that...


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

And I don't want a sleep deprived Truck Driver on the highway either!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:48 p.m.

I was impressed with Seto's informative yet succinct presentation. Crawford had alluded to the fact that fiscal "efficiencies" were gained at the expense of the traditionally "proactive" City services and preemptive police force. Like the three school officers and downtown beats. Seto indicated that overtime was not only due to under-staffing but added event coverage (UM games, Art Fair, etc). Clearly more officer monies are needed to replace the three school cutbacks, the downtown beats, and the random neighborhood patrols. A visible added police presence and at rush hour and closing time will help preempt crimes. More officer patrols will suppress the Necto brawls, taxi rapes, traffic chokes, and home invasions. Offer faster response times too. Same is true for the Fire Department. The Mayor was pleased to point out how well Seto was progressing towards raising his staff levels back up to their pre-efficiency counts..


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

No. Just no. How about you stop misusing the funds you already have. You kept overpaid officers on the fact you gave them PAY RAISES....and then you CUT a bunch of positions both in the police department AND the fire department. So don't DESERVE a boost for overtime because you are ABUSING the overtime in the first place. Hire more officers....cut BACK on all the overtime that's being abused.

Cendra Lynn

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 2:28 a.m.

Walk a mile in their shoes, sir. I've been a Citizen Volunteer with the Police since 1987. Even when we were flush with staff, everyone worked hard. I've never seen or heard of any slacking. Police do not abuse overtime; their shifts are unpredictable and they don't just go home in the middle of an ongoing event. "Oops! 6 pm. Guess I'll have to let this criminal go partway back to the station because my time is up and I am outta here." PUL EEEZE!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:04 p.m.

I don't agree with your speculative statement about current overtime abuses! But I do agree that more officers would be the best idea.

Tom Todd

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.

become a police officer or chief if it's so easy.

Ryan J. Stanton

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

A few downloads for any gluttons for punishment out there who want to read through the nitty-gritty budget reports: BUDGET OVERVIEW GENERAL FUND OTHER MAJOR FUNDS FYI - I do have a separate story coming shortly on the other major funds.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:56 p.m.

Now why would anyone want to do that? It's much easier to complain if you're uninformed.

Jack Gladney

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

Wake up people! Current services baseline budgeting by government at EVERY level is what has been bankrupting this country. Where are the cuts? Where Is the fat in the department's budget? The chief needs more cash to do the job? Turn off some lights; get rid of the free coffee; renegotiate your fuel contracts;. Do something other just ASSUME that just because you had X dollars this year you should get X plus 10 (or whatever) next year. Live in the REAL world. Times are tough for real people and families who can't just wish for Santa to give them a raise and have it show up on their door step. They learn ways to get by with essentials and cutting back in other areas, or finding ways to do them for less money.Government spending is out of control. The beast is eating us alive as it cries, "The sky will fall if you don't feed me more!"


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:02 p.m.

Listen Jack, you should ask to see the police staffing numbers from the last 10 years then compare that to the calls for service. Every call gets some type of response and this takes time, interviews, driving, note taking, report writing... etc. Then start figuring out that the loss of staffing equals more calls per officer and more subsequent court time etc... the request for overtime appears to be a reaction from the chief as he tracks his budget numbers. I wish we could still see walking patrols all over downtown 24/7.

Alan Goldsmith

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

"Hieftje said it's important to note there are two police departments in Ann Arbor, and the University of Michigan has an additional 55 armed and sworn officers to match the city's force" Next time there's a string of breaking and enterings in my neighborhood, should I call David Brandon?

Tom Todd

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

Yes it's his FAULT


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

Sure. Just deep six the new train station study, and the public art expenditures.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:31 p.m.

The blinky blue light wonder outside city hall would've funded three plus years of police overtime. But that wouldn't generate anywhere near the number of jokes.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:56 p.m.

"The fire department has 86 full-time employees and is at full strength right now." Wait, if memory serves, all related articles prior to this one indicated that the FD is understaffed according to National guidelines. When did this change? I know not all of our Fire Stations are open and/or fully staffed. No rebuttal to is either huh?


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

Thanks for that clarification. So the Fire Department still needs more fire fighters. Now that City Council and the public know the truth, how many more fire fighters are required to be correctly "Full Strength" staffed?


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

Ryan, I would submit that mentioning "the reduction in fire staffing" and "full strength" without reconciling the 2 nor mentioning the argument at all is sloppy. Anyone reading this subject for the first time would be confused, while the more knowledgeable would be as similarly peeved as I. However, thank you for your response.

Ryan J. Stanton

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

"Full strength," in this instance, means the department doesn't have any vacancies (unlike the police department). The fire department is authorized to have 86 FTEs and it has all slots filled right now, so it is at "full strength." Many would argue the department still could use more firefighters, and even the city acknowledges the reduction in fire staffing has created deployment challenges in terms of fire response. That is noted in the article.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:50 p.m.

"it's important to note there are two police departments in Ann Arbor, and the University of Michigan has an additional 55 armed and sworn officers to match the city's force." AGAIN with this? how can you CONTINUE to let this line to stand without response. Everytime he says this we commenters have to set the story straight and.... Oh never mind I get it now. Hits are more important than good and full reporting.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:04 p.m.

In the current budget that begins July 1, 2012, the Ann Arbor police were committed in the budget document to produce monthly metrics of key statistics to determine whether police emergency and investigative services were at national standard levels or not. The department and its leadership were to be evaluated against that data. According to my last conversation with Chief Seto, this had not yet been implemented even though we are now 8 months into the fiscal year. He laid the blame on the city's IT staff for not completing the project. The priorities ought to be providing fire, police and other basic services up to national standard levels, but if you cannot measure the effectiveness of where you are, how can you manage it and know if you need to cut or add, or add a lot? A priority needs to be made to get the dashboard data before the next budget cycle is decided!


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 4:37 a.m.

Sorry, Stephen - I misspelled your first name.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

Strongly (an understatement) agree here with Steven. If we can't measure a program, we CAN'T evaluate it. We're just groping and hoping.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

>He laid the blame on the city's IT staff for not completing the project. Use pen/paper or make your own excel spreadsheet to account for everything. It's Seto's responsibility if he wants more $$ for his department to prove they aren't wasting what they have and actually need it (OT abuse from just a short while ago need not be repeated). Remember pensions are calculated including OT so it behooves them to get as much as possible now for that golden parachute.

Alan Goldsmith

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:49 a.m.

Thanks Mayor. While you babbled on the past several years about meaningless issues and showed zero leadership when it came to actual city infrastructure and public safety, and wore your cheerleader outfit and danced the gig for the million dollar (not $750K that always gets quoted but the actual dollars are now pushing a million) City Center water fountain, we now find out don't have enough policing staff and need funding for overtime. Brilliant. How can you look at yourself in the mirror? Kudos to Jane Lumm and Sumi Kailasapathy for asking real questions and trying to solve the problem. Shame on John Hieftje for his years of police and fire department employee bashing while being more concerned with 'other' issues.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:49 a.m.

How about cutting the salaries. As groups comes forward to try and nibble at what they see as extra money lying in the city coffers, I hope the city has the fortitude to say NO.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:52 p.m.

@Jack, the SC has already ruled that the Police have NO LEGAL duty to protect you or to come to your aid...

Tom Todd

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:21 p.m.

cut salaries OK, shoot first, ask questions later.

Jack Gladney

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:42 p.m.

@action. Them saying, "No," would most likely be classified as insubordination and grounds for dismissal. That could be a serious blemish in seeking future employment for the officer. Next option, please.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:29 p.m.

How about when you call for help and they just say NO.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:32 a.m.

Here's an idea. CUT the DDA and % for public art! Hey, I just found the $$ in the budget!

Fat Bill

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:27 a.m.

In the public sector, and especially in public safety, the overhead costs per employee are generally higher than in the private sector. Sometimes time and a half is cheaper than hiring, training and equipping additional officers. In emergency services, overtime is going to happen, those darn incidents don't pay attention to shift changes...


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 4:07 p.m.

Billy what is your specific example of overtime abuse? You either know or are just spouting off.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:49 p.m.

"Sometimes time and a half is cheaper than hiring, training and equipping additional officers." That is patently FALSE in this case. There are officers that are making six figure incomes because of overtime abuse.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:46 p.m.

I much of the private sector paying overtime is cheaper than hiring more people too. Its not just the public sector that does this.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:08 a.m.

Two things: 1. Doesn't it make more sense to hire more police rather than increasing the overtime budget a quarter of a million dollars? Isn't overtime where a lot of abuses took place a few years back? 2. It boggles the mind that police and fire protection are not #1 priorities for our tax dollars. Far more important than additional administrative or even council positions. This city has a love affair with excess high paid administrative positions with very sweet benefits not found in the private sector.