PTC city manager’s cop cut numbers don’t add up

Peachtree City Manager Jim Pennington. File photo.

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.

Next
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Spent the money on a Motorcycle.....

It is all corrupt.

BobbyBiplane
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PTC Police

I stand by my comment ... less captains and more patrolmen.

Jelly Bean
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Incorrect info Bob

Bob

I would be the first to agree with you IF the post you made was accurate. I'm not sure where you crawled out from because if you had read any of the memo or articles you would know that these 3 positions are not being reallocated to the road. There is one position going to the road and at least 4 administrative positions if you include the new Assistant Chief. This re-org is being made more palatable with the spin that you and the City Manager are attempting to put on it. What will be really interesting is how the new Asst. Chief's position will be filled. To go outside once and hire a buddy of the City Manager's might be stomached once, but if it happens a second time?? Get real.

Jelly Bean
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Incorrect info Bob

...

BobbyBiplane
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Police Staffing

I have to agree with Manager Pennington. Less captains, more patrolmen. The issue here is not the gaffe but real community policing. Like too many businesses, Peachtree City needs less office staff and more real work.

istilldontknow
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Is PTC's City Manager an Embarrassment?

A city manager with over a quarter-century of management experience should have strong public relations, budgeting and personnel management skills down pat, especially one who touts a doctorate in organizational leadership.

But yet the city keeps getting negative press:

- Staffing reductions are processed with last minute notice to the public, creating a PR challenge.

- A no-bid fiasco with IT services is brought to light by the newspaper and involves a company that the city manager had "comfort" with due to his prior experiences in another jurisdiction, without considering competition and the effect it has on local businesses or the public perception of a conflict of interest.

- A culture is perceived by some employees as neither communicative nor supportive, if you consider Captain Claman's comments about the PD command staff not getting any input into the Police reorganization.

- A major mathematical inconsistency is reported in the press regarding the manager's calculated "savings" of a recommendation for PD reorganization that the Mayor felt the need to publicly state was "just in the works" but was easily refuted by simple analysis by a staff member and this newspaper.

Dear Mayor and City Council - your problem isn't solely in your infighting and ideological differences - take a look at your organizational culture in the workplace of the city staff. How about analyzing your legal bills? Are you noticing any increases or patterns with personnel issues? Ask yourselves why. Employees don't take to the microphone in public meetings if their management is communicating with them clearly and effectively, wouldn't you say? I think you'll find your public servants aren't performing at a maximum level because they have no confidence in their management.

It won't get better until the management can focus on positively supporting a strong staff and get away from the bottom line/please the politicians mindset, and it's my opinion this city manager isn't effective in doing that. Could it be that no other previous management (front line, mid-level or senior director) ever presented the infrastructure needs that the city is now tackling in the past? If none of them did, one could assume that there would be no justification to keep any of them around, as they did the city no favors. And now the bill is due; now is the time you need a strong staff, and what is the message your management is communicating about that staff?

The city is at a tipping point, and I believe that current senior management isn't creating a positive culture and is using a hatchet where one is not needed. Changes may in order, but maybe not where it's being proposed.

Strong companies have staff that love to come to work each day and positively contribute. Does PTC have that in their staff, or are they solely looking make to sure they're not next on the chopping block? From what the press is reporting, it doesn't sound like they have the ability to contribute at all. Why would one think some staffers chose to leave or retire?

From this citizen's perspective, this city manager may not be the best choice for Peachtree City and the long term viability of its staff. I think the City Council should take a hard look at their management structure.

Rec Guy
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Is PTC's City Manager an Embarrassment? YES!!

Well said! I couldn't agree more. I have had many interactions with the CM. Mostly he says a whole bunch of nothingness. He doesn't seem to have much sincerity or credibility. Maybe it's time for retirement.

Rec Guy
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The numbers never add up!!

If you closely examine most of PTC's personnel cuts, you will find they end up replacing the positions which were eliminated with new positions that have different titles.

The city reports all kinds of initiatives where they show significant savings, but they don't tell you they are just shifting the funds to another budget category where it will be spent. The City Manager needs to learn saving only occur when the money is not spent.

Citizen_Steve
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What's the real story here?

The indication to me is that someone thinks the 3 captains should be fired and replaced. Claims of restructuring and cost-benefit are likely just for diversion. Who wants to fire the captains and why? If there is performance issue, those responsible should do the right thing and address it head-on, not set up some phony "restructure" story.

Steve

Jelly Bean
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Correct Steve

That is what Chief Clark and Dr. Pennington should do. They should step up and be honest about why 3 of the 4 should go. The fact is, that's not going to happen. When politics is played and a complete and utter contemp for 3 out of the 4 is the reason, you're not going to hear about it. It's disguised as a re-org. The one thing that Clark and Pennington didn't count on is them refusing to go down without having some tough questions surface. If they are answered truthfully, the captains will probably remain at work. If 'politics happens' then the questions will be answered in front of a Circuit Judge for numerous FLSA, FMLA, ADA, and Title VII discrimination claims. As a PTC resident, I'm hoping for the first choice-honesty. If that doesn't happen, well - time for the old millage rate to increase I guess. Someone has to pay the attorney's bills and any damages awarded.

istilldontknow
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Peel back the onion...

...this can't be the only thing going on that's not right. Come on Citizen - investigate!

Robert W. Morgan
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Math question answered

OK, so ignoring the very real cost of the replacement positions is how you get to broadcast a "dramatic" and "significant" savings of $400,000. My advice to the city manager is to have someone check over your math before you go public with it.

Conclusion to all this is leave well enough alone. Eliminate or don't fill the asst. chief position and move on to something else.

ptctaxpayer
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Well, Bobby, now we know how

Well, Bobby, now we know how you would have voted in the French elections !

Robert W. Morgan
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That's just silly, diceman

The French don't count. They going crazy over there and I only care because it affects my 401k.
Actually I don't even care about that. Let them eat snails. Let them socialize themselves to death.
Maybe some of the Occupy crowd will wake up and see what they are pushing for and grow up and stop.
Or, maybe not.