Officials Press for Police Demotions
Plaintalker has not reported on this issue, leaving it up to Mark Spivey, who will most likely attend the press conference a develop a story for the Courier News. But just to find out more about this concept, I called the state PBA. Everyone had left the office for a collective bargaining seminar in Atlantic City, so there was no one to comment. Next I called Plainfield PBA President Andre Crawford, who said demotions are within the administration's rights for financial reasons. But he said the union never advocates for anyone to be demoted.
Although it has not happened before in Plainfield to Crawford's knowledge, a Google search turned up several instances of police and fire demotions recently to save money, in cities including Hoboken and Edison.
The city is now in the third quarter of the fiscal year that began July 1 and budget amendments are up for discussion tonight. The City Council agenda-fixing session is 7:30 p.m. at City Hall.
"My understanding is that the City Council wants instant savings," Crawford said.
The PBA just honored eight retirees and the city recently hired six new police recruits. Crawford pointed out that retirees may go out on terminal leave, using up vacation and sick days, so savings may not start for six months or so. Crawford said the union "voted as a body" to forego the six new hires, but the city hired the recruits anyway. Leaving the slots vacant could have poroduced about $240,000 in savings, he said.
Another factor affecting costs, he said, is the need for police officers to fill in on two vital functions, 9-1-1 and prisoner supervision, when civilian staffers are unavailable. The resultant overtime could be reduced, he said, if the city addressed the problem of understaffing in the civilian ranks.