City of Rochester
(Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011) – Mayor Thomas S. Richards and Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard today proposed a series of budget cuts and efficiencies that will avoid the pending layoff of nine police officers. The cost-cutting will save recent police hires, including three minority officers and two female officers from losing their jobs and will also protect the City’s $684,000 investment in training and preparing those officers for their jobs.
“We wanted very much to save these jobs, but we can’t do so by adding more expense to the RPD budget,” said Mayor Richards. “This is a prime example of government working hard and being innovative to prevent the loss of our newest and freshest officers and to keep our hard earned gains in minority recruitment.”
As of October 15, the Rochester Police Department was going to run out of the supplemental funding it was using to pay for all of the police officers on its staff. In July, Mayor Richards and City Council authorized the additional funding to allow the department time to carry out their retirement incentive participation and get its payroll in line with the fiscal year budget. Nine sworn officers took advantage of the incentive, which did not save enough money and resulted in the RPD being nine sworn positions over its authorized strength. Mayor Richards created the City’s first-ever retirement incentive in July for the City’s most senior employees in an effort to curb the effects of mandatory “last in-first out” rules.
“State mandates would have forced us to lay off the last officers hired,” said Chief Sheppard. “That would not have been in our best interest considering the time and resources it took to recruit and train our new officers. I would like to thank the Mayor, City Council, the police union and my staff for working so hard and cooperating to capture these savings.”
The proposed budget cuts will also preserve the Rochester Police Officer entry level exam, scheduled for November 19, 2011, as well as a proposed new recruit class next year. The recruit class was scheduled for February 2012 but is now proposed to start in August 2012.
In order to stay within budget at the end of the present fiscal year, RPD anticipates at least nine additional retirements between now and June 30, 2012 from classes that will reach 20 and 25 years of service in the next four months. The RPD typically sees at least that number in retirements at those milestones.
“Many times when a police officer retires, they take on another job,” said Mayor Richards. “But in this environment, those jobs are not as readily available and this may have contributed to the retirement incentive not reaching its target.”
Solving the financial problem of retaining the additional officers was complicated by the need to accommodate an excess number of Police Investigators created by litigation pursued by a group of individual officers in RPD’s Special Investigation Section (SIS). This additional expense to the Department had to be absorbed by a reduction in other expenses and the reallocation of resources.
Other than the savings from upcoming anniversary year retirements, Chief Sheppard is proposing budget cuts including the elimination of the vacant Executive Deputy Chief position, as well as either postponing or not filling other vacancies and cutting its training and travel budgets. The Mayor is asking City Council to amend the City’s budget to reflect this change.
News Media: For more information, contact Gary Walker at 428-7405.