Thursday, January 16, 2014

No Public Safety Staff Increase

Town Manager John Musante right, Sandy Pooler, Finance Director, to his right

About the most interesting thing in Amherst Town Manager John Musante's  proposed FY15 Budget is what it doesn't contain -- an increase in staffing for either police or fire personnel.  Although if extra monies materialize he does support the hiring of one additional police officer for a downtown beat.

Interestingly in his Letter of Transmittal to his bosses, the Select Board, he does freely admit that UMass has increased enrollment 16% over the past ten years but town police strength has decreased by 10% (five officers) since 2007.

And while he champions the "sector based patrol system" no mention is made of joint patrols with UMass Police Department, recently jeopardized by a union grievance filed by one of their officers.

In calendar year 2013 Amherst Fire Department responded to 5,690 emergencies, a 3.6% increase over the previous year.  Because of the extra $80,000 per year kicked in by UMass for 2 extra ambulances on weekends, and an increase in ambulance rates the budget does call for an increase in minimum on duty staffing from 7 to 8 during the academic year.

But the Town Manager made it pretty clear he does not think an increase in staffing is warranted:  " ... and no increase in authorized staffing is necessary or recommended."

A picture is worth 1,000 words

 

Meanwhile Leisure Services (aka, recreation empire) is "level funded" at $529,299. But last year they were also pretty much level funded and still managed to lose over $300,000

The $20,947, 926 municipal budget is supported by $600,000 in "new growth" property taxes which indicates the local economy is on the move.  Amherst Town Meeting has final approval over the budget and will take up discussion in the spring. 



21 comments:

Dr. Ed said...

There are three relevant numbers and you have one -- UM expansion of enrollment.

The second would be the number of students physically within the boundaries of Amherst at any one given time -- and that could well have declined notwithstanding the above.

A UMass student I know spent her entire senior year in DC -- taking on-line courses. She was "enrolled" at UMass, but she wasn't at UMass. Likewise, I know a professor whose students are increasingly are on either ships or in places like Afghanistan -- members of the active duty military who are "enrolled" at UMass and taking classes when not on duty.

Likewise, I know of students who finish their final semester/year/or more by only taking M/W/F or (preferably) Tuesday/Thursday classes and driving out to Amherst just for classes -- and leaving afterwards.

Notice how traffic has increased from what it was in years past? Even though UM increasingly has discouraged undergrads from having cars (they charge incredibly high parking decal fees) traffic has gone up -- and both the garage and metered parking lots are usually full.

Hence it isn't how many students are "enrolled" as much as how many student boots are on the ground -- at any one time -- in Amherst.

Third, Massachusetts does an annual census, doesn't it? What has become of AMHERST's population? Methinks that is a tad more relevant in terms of policing the town, wouldn't it?

Ed's eager pupil said...

I know you're a busy man, Doctor Ed, what with your heavy burden of comments to write, but I've done my homework just like you asked. Now I hope you can help me understand what I found.

Can you please tell me which non-creepy meaning you had in mind when you wrote three times that Maria Geryk "is cute"?

(For extra credit, I tried to figure out a non-skeevy interpretation of your opinion that she "has a hot body," but that one has me totally stumped.)

You can find my work, i.e., verbatim copies of your comments, down near the bottom of this page:

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=5035949355013113578&postID=6996379012787249094

- Eddie Hull

Anonymous said...

Ed doesn't seem to have an issue with John Musante not having a PhD. Also, what did Catherine Sanderson mean when she was quoted in the Gazette, after the three superintendent finalists (including Geryk) were selected through a national search, as saying "this isn't a swimsuit competition"?

Dr. Ed said...

Also, what did Catherine Sanderson mean when she was quoted in the Gazette, after the three superintendent finalists (including Geryk) were selected through a national search, as saying "this isn't a swimsuit competition"?

I have no idea, other than I'm sure you will find some way of attacking my moral character for yet one more thing that I didn't even say!

And what the Foxtrot does this have to do with the town budget?

Anonymous said...

The police department runs on the edge of staffing problems all the time. The department deserves our deepest thanks and our sincerest apologies for letting it go on. They do it with a smile and good spirits. Musante should count his blessings while they last. Sooner or later it is going to hit the fan. When it does the blame will lie with the Select Board and Town Manager not fighting for more money.

Where is that money going. Well go ask Team Maria. It's for the children you know.

DOCTOR Ed said...

(For extra credit, I tried to figure out a non-skeevy interpretation of your opinion that she "has a hot body," but that one has me totally stumped.)

How about I didn't fucking write it?

And I'm going to say this: Maria gives me the creeps -- you know, kinda like fingernails on (slate) blackboard, icewater down the back of your spine creeps. This isn't something I would say if I hadn't been provoked to this extent, but she has BAD NEWS written all over her, and while I know how I can pick stuff like this up, I don't believe in holding people responsible for stuff like subconscious body language and the like.

I hold folks responsible for what they do, not what they think.

And I wouldn't have said anything if that stuff hadn't been fabricated, nor would I say this, but anyone who was present at that meeting in that elementary school back before she was anointed may remember that I was sitting just about as far away as I could from her as I possibly could without appearing overly rude. That's fear, not lust, I consider her dangerous.

Like I said, as a general rule, I only hold people responsible for what they overtly say and do -- but the rules of human decency have been so violated in this unwarranted defamation of my character that I honestly don't care anymore.

And Kurt -- just one more and I'll repeat everything else that I've heard about her... If you aren't personally doing it, you need to stop this crap because this really has gone too far.

Anonymous said...

"But the Town Manager made it pretty clear he does not think an increase in staffing is warranted: " ... and no increase in authorized staffing is necessary or recommended." "

where does he get this from?

Kurt Geryk said...

Will whomever is instigating Ed please refrain, or at least post your name when you comment. I don't care who wrote what. I would like to deflect Ed's attention away from me. I do not know Ed. I have publicly asked Ed leave me alone, and I'd like him to do that, but his unwanted contact has only increased since then.

Kurt Geryk

Larry Kelley said...

And that is the last off topic comment I'm going to publish.

Anonymous said...

Great choice. If I need an ambulance in south Amherst I am in trouble. Hey, on the brightside, one will be coming from near-by Northampton! Hope I don't bleed-out or have a massive coronary during the wait time.

If I need a cop in central or north Amherst I am in trouble. The political paper that was the mutual aid BS (we NOW have a force of 100!!! 40 amherst and 60 UM cops!!) is dead. Good luck getting services when the students are around.

I have a question LK: Are most of the serious police calls (involving students) on or off campus? I see you put APD stuff on here, I never see UM PD stuff here.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you could try a ride share to the hospital? Surely, there's an app for that that will put ambulances out of business.

Anonymous said...

Wait, is the town manager trying to say that both the police and fire chiefs say increased staffing isn't necessary or recommended? Where is he getting these ideas from?

Anonymous said...

Privatize EMS and the problem will be solved spilt revenue so the town gets some and the EMS company does. Just like the rest of the country.

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah and while we're at it, lets privatize PD as well. And then the military.

Anonymous said...

How about the big fat pay raises the TM just gave Town Hall?

Anonymous said...

Those raises were from a recent study and reclassification which showed many underpaid.

Anonymous said...

Yea, right, 15k is just a little salary adjustment!

Anonymous said...

Interesting how town hall all got raises and yet the FD and PD are left with pennies for raises in comparison in %. As well as to state that the town does not need more staffing for either PD or FD is just crazy. If you look at the national average for population, call volume (for both FD and PD) as well as land area, Amherst wouldn't even be in the poor category. The Town Manager needs a lesson in how to run his own town. Just a matter of time before the taxpayers of Amherst suffer for the incompetence of the Town Manager.

The Juggernaut said...

Why would the APD union file a grievance for UMass joint patrols?

I see so many in the town complaining about policing efforts to control UMass students, many times rightfully so.

However, when UMass makes an effort, whether it be placing a food truck to try to alter foot traffic or increasing police presence, all I see the town do is mock or complain further.

This is why I believe the town is only after money. They want UMass to foot the bill while collecting revenue from police activities.

Larry Kelley said...

It was a UMPD officer who filed the complaint.

The Juggernaut said...

Ah, a classic move. S/he didn't want to work any harder. That is stupid, they are state level police officers. They should be out there patrolling the town as well.