City manager didn’t reverse on captains
The May 3rd council meeting did not end quietly, as you could see from the headlines. So some further information may be of interest to you.
The motorcycle and ATV test programs were requested back in 2008. Both programs have a proven track record. Both have values unique from each other and the patrol cars. Both are far cheaper to operate than a car.
So, it was a bit of a puzzlement there was any questioning of the motorcycle at the April 19th council meeting. We had ended in a 2-2-1 split.
At the May 3rd council meeting Council member Imker realized his original “no” position was ill-advised and Council member Fleisch decided the program was a good thing. The final vote was 4-1 with Council member Dienhart remaining opposed.
The next big question is will it be worth it to drop one car scheduled for replacement, next year, and replace it with another motorcycle? I made the recommendation for staff to look into that, so we will see. That would be a spending reduction.
Reviewing the claim we have a large number of excess police vehicles being replaced too frequently, I had requested a breakdown.
It showed there are 88 vehicles in the fleet, 84 of which are assigned between sworn, reserve, auxiliary and code enforcement officers. The remaining 4 are reserve vehicles of which 2 were in constant use to rotate out assigned vehicles for maintenance. The remaining 2 are for other emergency needs.
So there are no excess vehicles. Case closed.
We see non-patrol vehicles range in mileage from 70,000 to 110,000 odometer miles with upwards to 500,000 engine miles. So, we have a lot of vehicles that were removed from patrol usage because they are no longer dependable.
There are also patrol vehicles with upwards to 100,000 miles as well. Despite some claims, there are not a bunch of new vehicles. The 9 new ones bought are only 10 percent of the total fleet.
Moving on, the main issue I wanted to address is the police captains issue.
The only new agenda item was the vote on the assistant chief of police. That was it and we voted 5-0 to approve.
All the rest of the material was council/staff topics. It covered what was already done, where we are and what is next.
On the “where we are” portion, we gave direction to the city attorney to pull together the legal forms, changes and materials needed to proceed concerning leave and other similar type policies. We definitely need to clean up unclear, improper and complex procedures.
On the structural changes within the PD, just like we did in all the other departments already reorganized, a review is needed.
On the personnel staffing of the structure, it has to be reviewed, just like we did in other departments. Those reviews resulted in some job grades being lowered and some increased. Some jobs were eliminated and some created, often with the personnel from the eliminated jobs filling the new positions. Change never ends exactly where the initial discussions begin.
Anyone thinking this was a done deal presentation is not understanding the reality. It was nothing more than a conversation starter. There is a lot to say on this matter.
Having been on council at least two years longer than any of the council members and key personnel on staff, except one, I have been part of past issues in this area not yet shared.
I received and granted a request for the captains to be able to speak. Before anyone spoke I made it very clear this was only the opening conversation. We didn’t know what would happen, when it would happen or that anything would happen. But we have to have the discussion.
After they spoke I closed the public comment segment and stated under no circumstances would there be any retribution for them speaking. Added here is besides being illegal, when I allow someone to speak their mind I have a personal obligation to ensure it is not used against them.
Since some legal challenges were also brought up, this effectively barred council from engaging in conversation until the city attorney did a review.
Also made clear was to speak as if the city manager was the lone voice in developing this presentation was not valid. The chief of police, Human Resources, city attorney and others all took part in forming this paper. To pit one part of the city against another was not what the city needs and is destructive.
The officers accepted and acknowledged those realities.
As everyone should know, in my five years on council I have been a constant and the strongest advocate for [Public] Safety. But, until something proves otherwise, I am as well supportive of the work the city manager has been doing. That does not mean we always agree.
So, did the city manager change course? No. Is our police department critical to Peachtree City? Yes. Will we be talking about all the aspects involved? Yes. Will it go exactly how some are perceiving? I don’t believe so.
Don Haddix, mayor
Peachtree City, Ga.