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Assistant police chiefs remain out of Schenectady budget

Public safety to see reductions in 2013

Tuesday, December 4, 2012
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— The Schenectady Police Department is losing three commanders by Jan. 1, but the City Council will not reconsider the department’s budget to minimize that loss.

Remaining will be the public safety commissioner, two assistant chiefs, and a vacant police chief position that could be filled at any time.

Chief Mark Chaires formally asked the council, by letter, to restore a third assistant chief position to next year’s budget.

This year, the department has four assistant chiefs, as well as a chief and commissioner, but the council cut two assistant chiefs out of the 2013 budget.

Councilwoman Marion Porterfield argued strongly on Chaires’ behalf, but the rest of the council shut her down.

“If we can’t run a police department with those four individuals — very seasoned people with a lot of experience — I take issue with that,” said Council President Denise Brucker.

Porterfield said Chaires wrote that he had found a way to restore an assistant chief position at no cost to the city, by removing other expenses from the police budget. But Brucker said she did not believe it.

“For someone to say it doesn’t cost the city money is ridiculous,” she said. “We are paying for pensions, we are paying for health care, we are paying a lot of money.”

The Daily Gazette did not receive a copy of the letter, and it was not clear whether Chaires had taken into account the cost of benefits as well as the normal salary.

But Porterfield said Chaires’ proposal should be taken seriously.

“He says it would have an impact on public safety,” she said. “Looking at what he has said, I think it’s something we could reconsider.”

Brucker refused, saying it would cost too much.

Porterfield shot back, “Well, he says it won’t. I think we should hear what he has to say.”

She got no support from the rest of the council. Councilwoman Leesa Perazzo said the public safety argument was groundless, too. She noted that the change the council is making increases the number of patrol officers while decreasing command staff.

“It means more feet on the street. So as a public safety issue, we have more people out there than ever,” she said.

She added that if Chaires has found ways to cut other expenses from his budget, she would like to cut those items to reduce the city’s overall expenses — but not to increase command staff.

Council members also voted in committee to buy eight patrol cars and two vehicles for the evidence technicians, a purchase that was delayed all year because the police wanted top-of-the-line SUVs for the evidence technicians.

In response, council members had pushed for limits on where those cars could be driven — and discovered that the evidence technicians were driving city cars home every night, some as far away as Saratoga County.

When council members learned the police contract might require them to let evidence technicians take their cars home, they balked. The vote to buy new cars failed, 3-3.

Mayor Gary McCarthy later took steps to reduce some take-home privileges for city cars, and commanders proposed buying less-expensive SUVs for the evidence technicians.

Still, the council never took up the question of buying new cars. Finally, on Monday, McCarthy asked the council to reconsider, saying that the cost of maintaining the oldest cars in the fleet would cost upward of $87,000 next year — the same cost as one year’s payment for 10 new cars.

This time, the council informally approved the purchase without discussion. The city would pay $87,000 a year for four years for the cars.

The final vote will be held next Monday.

Council members also discussed, privately, the idea of changing the already approved tax increase for next year, Councilman Carl Erikson said.

McCarthy has asked them for a higher tax increase, which could be used to replenish the city’s savings accounts.

But no council member wanted to propose it, Erikson said, and so the issue was never placed on the agenda.

 
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comments

December 4, 2012
6:20 a.m.
cfield says...

Well Brucker should be an expert - she had a political appointment job as an investigator in the DA's office. I guess that makes her an expert in police management.

December 4, 2012
7:46 a.m.
wmarincic says...

I have been a proponent of less chiefs and more indians. I have been saying for years we have too many Chiefs and Asst. Chiefs and not enough officers. Putting more boots on the ground will do more to make this the city it once was, than having 20 more command staff. For once I agree with the council.

December 4, 2012
8:43 a.m.
cfield says...

You know about as much as Brucker does. Which isn't much.

December 4, 2012
8:45 a.m.
cfield says...

20 Command Staff. Last time I counted there were six.

All other supervisors are in the field or responsible for running Detective shifts.

December 4, 2012
8:47 a.m.
cfield says...

And, if you think this is just about dollars and cents - you don't understand Schenectady politics.

December 4, 2012
12:12 p.m.
wmarincic says...

Really cfield, I probably know a whole lot more than you do. And I don't care what it's about as long as the police get the manpower they need on the street.

December 4, 2012
12:33 p.m.
cfield says...

And, how do you know what you know "I talked to this police officer, I talked to one of my sources..." In other words, second hand information.

Yeah, politics in policing - that's always a good thing.

December 4, 2012
5:43 p.m.
wmarincic says...

no cfield the fact that politics is in policing is a bad thing. I don't have to speak to my friends although I do. I will say it from the point of somebody that had lived in Schenectady for 20 years. there are not enough officers on the street, according to NYSDOJ, Schenectady has the same per capita crime as Albany with 100 less police officers. I know of midnight shifts not that long ago which had only 2 officers in the whole city patroling and one of them was a female, the only reason that I mention one was a female is because men sometimes are willing to assult a cop if they believe they are stronger.
The city is crying about money due to democrats running this city for so long and given the choice between 5 chiefs and a commissioner or another 15 cops on the street, I will take the 15 cops. The city will grow when the quality of life gets better in Schenectady, and unless we have enough cops to improve the quality of life Schenectady will continue it's downward spiral. So you can say what you want cfield but I will always err on the side of law and order because I know first hand what the alternaive is.

December 4, 2012
5:54 p.m.
wmarincic says...

cfield, Maybe you want to read the comment before running you're mouth, I said, "putting more boots on the ground will do more to make this the city it once was, than having 20 more command staff ", I never said we had 20 command staff, I know the makeup of the department.

December 4, 2012
9:08 p.m.
wmarincic says...

cfield, btw I don't know why you want to keep bashing me, you know me and I'm looking out for you. The last thing I want is a bunch of guys like you to take a demotion because Brucker wont listen to a plan to keep things in tact. All I want is a city that is not a cesspool.

December 5, 2012
11:51 a.m.
cfield says...

We will have to agree to disagree on this ill advised decision by Brucker.

I would never quarrel with the assertion that there are not enough police officers in the City.

December 5, 2012
12:09 p.m.
cfield says...

You're not going to get 15 cops as a result of those demotions.

PD cut one of the AC positions.

The real issue is whether someone whose only law enforcement experience was a politically appointed investigator position and no managerial experience is a better judge than the Command Staff of what it takes to run a police department.

Maybe they could have added a few police officers if they had not raised the SFD budget by $750k.

December 5, 2012
2:30 p.m.
wmarincic says...

cfield, that is where the rub is. they increase the SFD budget and want to cut the SPD budget. We need more cops period and I actually like most of the Asst. Chiefs, I think Seber and Kilcullen do a great job and I think Falvo has been getting a bad deal from Chaires. I know who you are and I'm pretty sure you know that I'm a supporter of the people that put the most on the line.

December 5, 2012
3:10 p.m.
cfield says...

Really, how do you think Falvo has been getting a bad deal from the Chief?

December 5, 2012
10:13 p.m.
wmarincic says...

I'm not gonna get into it in public, if you want to know ask somebody for my phone number and call me.

December 5, 2012
10:15 p.m.
wmarincic says...

BTW, I know exactly who I'm talking to, NC.

December 6, 2012
9:42 a.m.
cfield says...

Marincic - No you don't. I don't need to call - it's clear - you have positive things to say about the Commissioner and the Assistant Chiefs, and nothing positive to say about the Chief.

December 6, 2012
8:58 p.m.
wmarincic says...

Pretty much.

December 7, 2012
11:43 a.m.
cfield says...

That statement says more about the you than the Chief.

December 7, 2012
11:48 a.m.
cfield says...

Also, interesting you accused the Chief of wrongfully firing all the SPD officers, and showing favoritism towards Dwayne Johnson (whom he also fired).

December 7, 2012
10:11 p.m.
wmarincic says...

I never accused the chief of wrongfully firing all of the officers, just most of them. People like Mike Brown should never have lost their jobs. If you were not a Chaires butt kisser you better watch your back. John Lewis was the cause of the witch hunt, I wonder why nobody saw that he had a problem and was heading for a cliff, Lewis at one time was a well liked cop with a great future. Hmmm. You spend lots of time defending Chaires, I wonder why? I'm not you're enemy and you should be thankful that somebody like me is here defending the SPD rather than busting my chops. I don't get it.

December 8, 2012
7:34 a.m.
cfield says...

I know Mike Brown and he is a very decent young man, however, he left the scene of a dwi, personal injury accident. I think the Department felt it was too much for the department to retain him. And, Bennett was involved in that decision too - yet you have talked about how he is a fair man.

Your perception of JL is wildly off the mark, another decision Bennett supported.

Who were the butt-kisser's the Chief gave a pass to?

I've challenged your opinion on a lot of other things besides these allegations about the Chief.

December 8, 2012
11:46 a.m.
wmarincic says...

I actually get phone calls and people even stopping in to see me saying thanks for supporting us we appreciate it. I support you guys because you are good cops in spite of a couple idiots and The Gazette. We can agree not to agree on Chaires. As far as Bennett goes from what I know personally, which I do and what I have been told, he is fair but firm and that is alright, but keep in mind I have also blasted Bennett for things he has done that I did not feel were right. These are my opinions as a friend and taxpayer. I'm not the enemy, just the opposite. It seems to me there is a very different attitude of the guys that work upstairs from the guys that work downstairs. Maybe I'm wrong, but that is my opinion. And by upstairs I don't mean the Chiefs.

December 9, 2012
11:06 a.m.
cfield says...

Just seems a bit curious you singling out one individual for all the Department's ills.

And, I still wonder which buttkissers got a pass from the Chief.

And, for all those officers who complain of how bad things have been under the Chief - I would be curious as to how their individual careers have suffered under him.

December 9, 2012
6:24 p.m.
wmarincic says...

And it seems just as curious that you keep defending him so passionately. I know a few different people supposedly use that logon so if you are not NC, I wonder who you really are.

December 10, 2012
7:09 a.m.
cfield says...

Passionately? Not really - just trying to pin you down on some inconsistent positions.

If you can, answer the questions.

And, here's another - in a previous rant, you criticized the agency for sending officers to prison during the federal investigation, yet you're a supporter of Falvo and Seber. They were involved in that investigation.

December 10, 2012
8:33 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Yes they were in volved in that. I owned a house on Close St during that time, the Vale neighborhood was starting to turn into a ghetto, drug dealing was out of control, hookers were moving into the area, it was getting bad. Mike Hamilton and Nick Messere were doing a great job of closing the drug houses that were popping up all over the city. They were paying for information with a small ammount of drugs that was confiscated from the houses, no different than what the Feds did do and still do. When they were on duty the neighborhood was quiet. It was a bad time in that neighborhood, they were saving it and then they were arrested, take a look at the neighborhood today. How many shootings on Close, Victory, Catherine and Grove in the last two years alone. You keep missing my point, I want more police on the streets and I want them to be able to be more proactive, period. I can support somebody but still not agree on everything they have done, Falvo and Seber had no choice in the federal probe. Do you think Hamilton and Messere should have gone to prison? I think we needed 20 more just like them.

December 11, 2012
5:28 a.m.
cfield says...

Command Staff threw up their hands and called in the federal authorities. No choice? Should have never gotten to that point.

December 11, 2012
7:02 a.m.
wmarincic says...

What does that say about the command staff. You never answered my question, do you think they should have been arrested and gone to jail.

December 11, 2012
11:19 a.m.
cfield says...

I did. It should have never gotten to that point.

December 12, 2012
7:35 a.m.
wmarincic says...

So you think they should have gone to jail for doing their job. Wow.

December 12, 2012
1:29 p.m.
cfield says...

Is that what I said?

December 12, 2012
6:50 p.m.
wmarincic says...

You said it should never have gotten to that point, that tells me you think what they did is wrong. I think they did a good job and it was a travesty and the turning point for Schenectady.

December 13, 2012
9:45 a.m.
cfield says...

If someone gave drugs to anyone for information - yes, I would say that is wrong.

Turning point in Schenectady was related to two things end of GE factory jobs and related economic factors and a tidal wave of cocaine, followed by a tsunami of heroin.

If you think a few officers getting arrested can explain the issues in the Hood, you are taking too narrow of view of it.

Having said that, I do think the officers you referenced were exceptionally talented and did a lot of great things.

December 14, 2012
7:13 a.m.
wmarincic says...

OK thank you. and a 2nd person told me I'm most likely talking to NC. It is what it is. Remember I'm on your side, Always be safe and Merry CChristmas to you and your family.

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