Editorial: Cops blow OT budget yet again

Thursday, May 17, 2012
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News that the Schenectady Police Department spent more than double the amount of overtime that had been budgeted by the City Council last year was hardly shocking. This issue has come up year after year in Schenectady, and the situation rarely changes.

The cops frequently manage to blow their overtime budget for a couple of reasons: 1) between disabilities, discipline issues and wars, they’re rarely fully staffed; 2) cops get generous vacation, personal, sick and comp time benefits; and 3) administrators go along with the rank-and-file’s attempts to game the system, rewarding members with overtime when their colleagues take time off.

Admittedly, it’s hard to avoid doing so o when there are so few officers available for a given shift, because the city does need basic police protection. And there are emergencies...

The City Council has tried reining in the overtime by simply budgeting less, but mayors have never had the intestinal fortitude to insist that administrators stick to their budget.

Maybe the council was unrealistic in budgeting just $300,000 for a detective unit that typically runs up $680,000 worth; but department administrators shouldn’t have simply ignored the council’s mandate (as they did by approving $710,000 worth of OT). Likewise the patrol division, where they overspent a $500,000 allocation by nearly triple.

It’s up to the mayor to keep a closer eye on his administrators, to make it clear to them that they’re not supposed to go over their budgets no matter how unrealistic they might consider them. Until that happens, stories like Wednesday’s will continue to crop up — and Schenectady taxpayers will continue to get whopping tax bills and new fees for services they used to get without additional charge.

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May 17, 2012
6:59 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Maybe if the Police did not have to act like ambulance drivers it would not go over budget. You (the Gazette) had no problem adding a couple hundred overtime hours when the armed man was in your lobby because YOU did not follow security protocol. Shame on you and Judy Patrick for your continued bashing of the rank and file SPD officers while you give the five chiefs that make 1.5 million dollars per year a pass.

May 17, 2012
12:41 p.m.
rswanker says...

I thought they were bashing the administration and police upper management....

May 17, 2012
1:57 p.m.
Fritzdawg says...

I thought it was about management as well.
It's not as if they didn't know there would be overtime, and I doubt the police were just frivolously racking up overtime for the heck of it.

May 17, 2012
1:59 p.m.
wmarincic says...

Just bashing the rank and file, the 1.5 million per year chiefs get a pass.

May 17, 2012
6:42 p.m.
rswanker says...

The chief makes 1.5 million a year? Please elaborate.

May 18, 2012
6:54 a.m.
wmarincic says...

There are five chiefs the four asst. chiefs make over 150k per year each, then you have the chief and a commissioner all who are running an understaffed dept. I mispoke at 1.5 million when all is said and done it is about 1 million per year with benefits. We coild add lots of police officers who actually work for that money.

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