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Finance Committee Supports Elimination Of Deputy Chief

Recommendation, part of $240,000 reduction to requested increase, would cut position recently filled by mayor

The Finance Committee has proposed the elimination of a position for which Mayor Daryl Finizio .

The committee asked Police Chief Margaret Ackley on Tuesday to reduce the requested $711,394 budget increase for the police department by $240,000. The committee also accepted an amendment by Councilor John Maynard to include the elimination of the deputy police chief as part of that reduction.

The reduction would put the police department’s budget at $12,040,651 for the 2013 fiscal year. It was budgeted for $11,569,257 for the current fiscal year, but it is estimated that the department will spend $12,074,836.

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Deputy chief’s position

The deputy police chief’s position has been vacant since Jan. 4, following Finizio’s decision to . On Monday, Finizio announced that he has hired Peter Reichard, a 22-year veteran of the New Haven Police Department, as the new deputy chief.

Finizio said he considered the deputy police chief’s position one of four essential positions which were not subject to a put into place in response to a projected three-year $12 million deficit. Ackley said the budget includes a $97,850 salary plus benefits for a deputy chief. Some other positions in the department, including eight uniformed officer positions and a crimes analyst, would remain vacant and not be budgeted for under the department's proposal.

Ackley told the committee that the position is essential for administrative oversight of the department and its procedures, and that eliminating it could increase costs elsewhere in the department.

“I say it will cost you more, and I am confident in that, to not fund it than to fund it,” she said.

Council President Michael Passero was critical of Reichard’s hire, saying the city is still paying Segar as part of his severance agreement.

“The taxpayers are paying for two, essentially, deputy chiefs at the same time,” he said.

Passero made a motion to have Ackley reduce the increase to her bottom line by $240,000, or two percent. Maynard amended the motion to eliminate the deputy chief’s position. The committee, consisting of Maynard and Passero on Tuesday since Councilor Adam Sprecace was out of town on business, unanimously passed both the amendment and the main motion.

Maynard said he felt municipal departments are becoming too top-heavy with administrative positions. He said he felt it was more important to fill the vacant officers’ positions than the deputy chief’s position.

“This city is turning into the school system,” he said. “We’re becoming support-heavy, staff-heavy.”

City Council President Pro Tempore Wade Hyslop, who is not a member of the committee but chairs the Public Safety Committee, said he thought the committee was “micromanaging” the department. Maynard said he considered the vote a response to Finizio’s actions.

“This is just eliminating a position he’s already eliminated,” said Maynard.

“He did not eliminate a position, he did not renew a contract,” replied Hyslop.

Maynard said he considers that the committee can target individual line items of the budget since the mayor has a line item veto. Passero said the full City Council will have a vote on whether or not they think the elimination of the deputy chief should be included in the final budget.

Other budget considerations

Ackley said her initial requested budget was about a $1.68 million increase, but that she cut it back at Finance Director Jeff Smith’s request. She said she was concerned that the proposed budget still leaves positions and programs unfunded.

“This is not an inflated budget,” said Ackley. “This is a budget that is almost $1 million less than I believe it should be.”

Most of the increase is due to contractual obligations and benefits for employees. It also includes increased health insurance costs and funds the city is legally obligated to pay to employees who have retired from the department.

Ackley says the goal is to increase the size of the department incrementally. She said it is important to fund youth programs, the Citizens Police Academy, and other programs she feels are important for community policing. She also said she was concerned that the requested reduction to the increase could affect areas such as the department’s and school resource officer programs.

Passero said departments across the city are also making sacrifices.

“The budget in your agency is increasing next year in a very tough time,” he said.

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Nicholas Jacobs April 25, 2012 at 11:25 AM
The reality is that this is a political house cleaning by the chief and the mayor of any and all that did not support Finizio in his bid to be the supreme leader of the Whaling City. If we look at this from a reality point of reference we would see that the last chief of police a male ran the department well, crime was down, citizens were safer and it was all done without a deputy chief. Is this because he was a man? I am not sure. Chief Ackley states that because she is a woman she needs a deputy chief, the department is against her. That is hogwash. They do not respect her because of her inabilities. EIther she is capable of running our police department or she is not. It is that simple. There are many strong and competent women all across this country that run companies, police department and organizations much larger than the a small city police department. This all points to the larger picture that demonstrates the complete and total lack of maturity and leadership ability of Chief Ackley. The request for Ackley to stay from Finizio was one of the first of many poor and pathetic decisions in a long string that will continue to bring this community down.
Nicholas Jacobs April 25, 2012 at 11:27 AM
I must agree with others that have said Chief Ackley, Finizio and Glover need to go.
robert mcclung April 25, 2012 at 11:36 AM
Ackley is playing the old bait and switch manuever. She states “This is a budget that is almost $1 million less than I believe it should be" fully knowing that it is WAY more than it actually should be. So the Finance Committee will approve her already inflated request and voila the good 'ol boy system is alive and well in New London.
Carol D. Fox April 25, 2012 at 11:59 AM
@Nicholas Jacobs: There was a Deputy Chief with the last chief until a budget crunch.
Henry April 25, 2012 at 12:06 PM
Nick you are right on. Now Chief step up to the job and do it! Prove that you can indeed do the job you are being paid to do and do it without the "whinning."
Carol D. Fox April 25, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Henry: next time you put a word in quotes, you should spell check it. It is spelled incorrectly.
William April 25, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Maybe we should start a petition to bring back Segar to the position he is getting paid to not do. Since Ackley said she thought he did such a good job and wasn't her choice to not bring him back then we should have her sign it first. What benefits would we get out of removing the K-9 program but bringing back the boat program?
lion king April 25, 2012 at 01:51 PM
ambush by committee,boy didnt passero blame the mayor for this not to long ago ,lets stop with the love lost between the dems in the city before its to late ,
loves animals April 25, 2012 at 02:02 PM
The Little Mayor can line item veto and get what he wants. After April 30 please sign a petition for a budget voted on by the tax payers of New london and those who rents will increase because of the Little Mayor.
NewLondonSource April 25, 2012 at 02:18 PM
@Lion King: Actually, it's the committee's response to being 'governed by ambush'. Just like Mr. Hyslop proclaimed for himself (recently), the council "should not be intimidated". I applaud the council for standing up to another foolish action by The Fiz. It seems Maynard has been burned by his one-time buddies and has seen the light. Passero also seems to have recovered from his brief softness he showed previously when the council was considering the illegal severence packages to the retired captains. Council should indeed be a check and balance for the mayor; they need to convey a balance to the mayor's eagerness to spend, spend, spend. Hyslop's motivations are so transparent and he has clearly been tainted by the administration. As such, he can no longer be trusted as an objective party with the best interests of the city in mind.
Henry April 25, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Carol,I apologize for the extra n. I am old and was barely a "C" student in high school. I did use the quotes because I did not know if it was the correct spelling and therefore I may have been creating my own special word. I am old enough to not really care if, from time to time I do not spell words correctly or even for fun mispronounce words. I chose to use the quotes my way. Also I put it in quotes because I am not sure what type of complainer the chief is or is not. I missed a space above. Can you find it? Also, spell check considers my use of a comma after Carol as not being correct in this application. I suspect that you are a frustrated person. How about providing an opinion on the article so that possibly it will get someone else to contibute.
Rich Allen April 25, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Right about now, if I were Mr Mayor and Chief Ackley I would be thinking, hmmm... it probably wasn't a good idea to disrespect the native sons. Apparently this newcomer doesn't get how it's done in New London nor is he doing much thinking about anything. Karma wins everytime.
lion king April 26, 2012 at 12:18 AM
richie allen , great comment ,next week you can address that to lynch and his puppy dog .
Carol D. Fox April 26, 2012 at 01:39 AM
@Henry: For what its worth, here is my opinion. I think we need a deputy chief. Over the years there has been a Deputy Chief. The last one retired earlier than he was supposed to in order to save a job for someone who had children. That was Deputy Chief Gavitt. For every business, there is a manager and an assistant manager. For every corporation, there are presidents and there are vice-presidents. There is no difference here. The Chief needs a Deputy Chief. Its clear and simple. She needs someone who works on internal affairs and who can deal with the union. There is much animosity between the union and the management. The City Council needs to get their act together and start working with the Mayor. Over the past several years, especially, the past election years they have not raised taxes which very probably left the hole the City is now in. I think the Finance Committee has left a huge mess for the new Mayor. No one wants their taxes to go up, but it is inevitable that our taxes will go up. A strong Mayor was wanted, and one was voted in. There is always going to be opposition to any new change.
Carol D. Fox April 26, 2012 at 01:41 AM
@Henry: I'm old too. But I can spell and I'm great at proof reading. I do sometimes make mistakes like not capitalizing deputy chief.
Sue P. April 26, 2012 at 03:21 AM
SSSHHHHH Carol you are annoying.
Carol D. Fox April 26, 2012 at 09:01 AM
@Sue: and you aren't?
Sue P. April 26, 2012 at 11:10 AM
@ Carol: I'm talking about the spelling thing. Who cares about people's spelling? It's their opinion that counts.
Carol D. Fox April 26, 2012 at 11:24 AM
You are absolutely right Sue, but presentation is half the battle when presenting one's opinion. Other posts are so poorly spelled and written, some can discount that person's opinion based on the presentation of the opinion.
Barbara Crocker April 26, 2012 at 02:14 PM
I would side with you Carol, if this were a professional forum. Only a snob would discount someone's opinion based on its' presentation in this form of discussion...would that we were all as blessed as you to have perfect grammar, spelling, and punctuation skills! Lighten up and come down off your high horse. Did you come down on the Mayor's $70K a year secretary who made spelling error's in his "affadavit"? Keep commenting, Henry, most of us don't care about your spelling, we get your meaning loud and clear.
Carol D. Fox April 26, 2012 at 03:05 PM
You bet I said something about his $70K a year secretary who can't spell Affidavit correctly. My point is that if someone presents their opinion with poor english, 50 typos they end up sounding like a blathering moron. Grammar doesnt have to be perfect. An example for you is someone who writes on the blogs for The Day by the last name of Russ. The appearance of his opinions actually make him sound crazy. Between the misspelling and poor grammar, I discount anything he has to say. If that makes me a snob, so be it.
Barbara Crocker April 26, 2012 at 03:20 PM
I agree with your point, but see no reason to pick on a single spelling error in a comment. If I am thinking of the correct "Russ", I do agree with you concerning his comments, with the very poor grammatical and spelling errors, I also find it almost painful to read them. I do not however, believe he "blogs" for the Day. He does comment frequently though, lol.
Sue P. April 26, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Sorry ladies I didn't mean to start anything, I just want people to be able to say what they feel and not be embarrassed by a spelling mistake. Just think of the next generation that can't spell at all.you=u are=r maff=math U no wha I mean. lol
James Droflas April 27, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Allright girls that's enough bickering, now back to the kitchen with you;)
Sue P. April 28, 2012 at 03:09 AM
James, my husband told me to never ever go near the kitchen again. But he did show me the menus in the phone book. By the way what is in the kitchen? lol
Alan Green, Jr. April 28, 2012 at 11:30 AM
This has been an entertaining Saturday morning read with some great LOL's at the end there.... and I come down firmly on the side of Carol. Presentation does count in debates. But there are some, like Lion King, who turn sloppiness into an art form. Russ isn't one of them.
Thomas Cornick April 28, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Proper spelling challenges only one mind. Fr Russ's mind is challenged quite enough.

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