Town begins part-time police hires
The Newburgh Town Board has stepped up the hiring of a number of part-time employees, but is doing so cautiously with an eye toward financial repercussions from the sales of the Roseton and Danskammer power plants.
Dynegy has been the town’s largest single taxpayer with property assessments at $895 million. But following the sale of Roseton for $19.5 million and the sale of Danskammer for $3.5 million, and its planned demolition for scrap metal, future assessments are subject to negotiation and very much in doubt.
The Town Board this past week authorized the commencement of the hiring process for a dozen part-time police officers at a starting salary of $24 an hour with two 50-cent-an-hour increases at the end of year one and year two.
Supervisor Wayne Booth said that he believes the town will be able to hire full-time officers, but added that he would prefer to wait until the picture clears on the property assessment he is negotiating with the new owners of Roseton.
The town recently negotiated a five-year contract with the PBA that included union approval of 12 part-time hires.
“I’ve been doing some math of what we have budgeted for the coming year,” Booth said, “as well as what was budgeted and spent in 2011 and 2012.
“One thing that concerns me going forward with the hiring of full-time officers is the potential of the Dynegy situation. Right now, if our budget stays solvent, and we get payment going forward this year from the power plants, I think we’ll be fine hiring a couple of full-time officers.
“But I’m not at that stage yet in those negotiations.”
Booth said that because of that he’d “like to hold off on full-time hires until we have some type of guarantees that we’re going to get what we budgeted.”
“I totally agree with you,” Councilwoman Elizabeth Greene said.
“I never want to be in the position that we were of hiring two [officers] and then in a short time laying them off,” she said. “I never want to be back in that position.”
“With that said,” Booth responded, “I think we will be able to hire a couple.”
With Police Chief Michael Clancy at the table, Booth pointed out that even with overtime included, the Police department “is well under budget.”
“He is to be commended for that, especially considering he’s down so many officers,” Booth said.
The supervisor said that salaries weren’t part of the PBA negotiation, but suggested $24 an hour as a starting salary. There are no benefits connected to the part-time officer positions. The part-time officers are required to have actual police experience that goes beyond academy graduation.
The board authorized starting interviews for part-time officers, noting that there have already been four applicants for the jobs.
“I want to see us hire 12 right now,” Councilman George Woolsey Sr. offered.
“You’ll have to wait, George,” Mrs. Greene responded. “We only have four applicants so far.”
The board then authorized “up to 12 hires at a salary of $24 an hour.” The interviews are to be conducted by the Town Board.
The board also authorized the hiring of a part-time clerk at a rate of $12 an hour. A full-time records clerk was laid off about 2 ½ years ago.
They also approved the hiring of a part-time parking enforcement officer at $10.50 an hour and up to three part-time police dispatchers at $13.52 an hour. They also authorized the hiring of a part-time court officer to replace Officer Vincent Guerino, who is retiring at the age of 87 after 20 years on the job.
The board asked Clancy to provide them with data on fines collected as a result of the work of parking enforcement officers.
By ALLAN GAUL