PTC city manager’s cop cut numbers don’t add up
When Peachtree City Manager Jim Pennington publicly estimated last week that the city could save close to $400,000 by eliminating three of four captain’s positions in the police department, he left out the additional cost of the eight new positions proposed by his reorganization plan.
If the cost of the new proposed positions are factored in, the city would save less than $7,000 in salaries, according to an estimate calculated by Police Capt. Rosanna Dove, who is in charge of the department’s office of professional standards, which includes accreditation matters, internal affairs investigations and also police spokesperson duties.
Pennington Tuesday explained that his estimate came from the existing salary and benefits for the four captains, ranging from $104,459 to $122,665 (an average of $110,318 per position) and then factoring in a cost for vehicles, equipment, uniforms and more for about $15,000 per person for a total of $376,000, which he rounded up to $400,000.
Dove is one of four police captains who faces the loss of her job under a proposal from Pennington to eliminate three of four captain’s positions.
Dove explained that she compiled a spreadsheet calculating the salary comparisons of the police department as it exists today compared to the proposed future restructuring initially recommended by Pennington. For both sides of the equation, Dove used the median salary range for a given position, although the actual numbers will differ based on each employee’s pay grade, she said.
Dove said her calculation did not include savings on benefits or equipment and she lacked accurate data to make that analysis.
Pennington last week said that the combined salary and benefits of the three police captains’ positions was around $330,000, and the cost savings would nudge up to $400,000 when factoring in equipment savings.
What he apparently left out of his calculations was the cost of replacement personnel, some of whom would take over the duties of the dismissed captains.
Capt. Dove revealed at last week’s council meeting that she and two other police captains have been routinely assigned decommissioned patrol cars and only recently was she assigned a different model: a 2002 Ford Explorer that was originally issued to former police chief James Murray.
Dove and patrol commander Capt. Mike Claman both addressed council Thursday night with criticism for the reorganization, which Pennington minutes before said was a “starting point” for talks on the reorganization during the budget hearings this summer that will be undertaken by the city council.
Dove noted that all of the police captains, and some other staffers in the department, would be well-qualified for the new position of assistant police chief that was created Thursday by council action at Pennington’s behest. Earlier in the evening, city Human Resources Director Ellece Brown noted the position would be opened to internal applicants first, which Dove said was contrary to information she had received from police chief H.C. “Skip” Clark.
Claman said if the goal of the reorganization was to save money, the city could have left two recent patrol officer positions vacant as a cost savings.
“The elimination of leadership and experience is not the answer,” Claman said.
Claman noted that he was the commanding officer of the investigations into the last several homicides in the city, and he also was the patrol commander who was on duty when the Target armed robbery occurred, an incident for which the suspects were later arrested and successfully prosecuted.
There was a public outcry to solve the Target case, Claman noted, and if such cases are assigned to lesser-experienced officers, the department won’t be able to meet the public safety demands of residents.