New London police chief's suggested budget handling, layoffs not 'set in concrete'

New London - On Monday, the police chief told the Board of Finance that a proposed $924,000 reduction in her budget could mean the loss of 15 police officers.

But on Tuesday, the city administration said Chief Margaret Ackley does not have the final say on staffing levels, and no decisions have been made as to how cuts to the police department will play out.

"There are a lot of variables out here, even still,'' Chief Administrative Officer Jane Glover said Tuesday. "We didn't want the public to think her proposal is set in concrete."

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Glover said "statements made by Chief Ackley do not represent the views of the Administration and were premature as it relates to the number and type of police officers that may need to be laid off."

Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio is the hiring authority and has final say on the type and number of positions in the department, Glover said.

"It's the mayor that does layoffs, not the department heads,'' she said. "A department head can recommend to the mayor positions that would have to be eliminated, but it's the mayor's decision."

The administration and the City Council are working together on the proposed $82 million budget for 2013-14 and are waiting for final numbers on the state's contribution to the city. The city has also started negotiating with the police union on its contract, which is set to expire June 30, Glover said.

Ackley told the Board of Finance Monday that the cuts to her $7.3 million budget would change the way the city is policed.

In the 81-officer department, the cuts could mean eliminating five patrol officers from each of the three shifts, Ackley said, leaving only two patrol officers on duty during the day shift, 10 in the afternoon, and eight overnight.

The City Council's budget, which includes $41.6 million for general government and $40.6 million for education, represents a 2.38 percent tax increase. If approved as proposed, the budget would raise the tax rate from 26.6 mills to 27.5 mills.


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