Council Budget Cuts Police Staffing by Four Positions

Police Chief Ed Garone will make do with four fewer men and/or women, after the Town Council voted in the majority to cut four full-time staff members from his department.

The move was part of a cost-cutting and tax-reducing initiative on the part of the Council to effect a 2016 budget that is lower than this year’s (See related stories this edition).

Councilor Mark Osborne made the motion to reduce four full-time positions at a savings of $384,000. Two positions are currently unfilled, he pointed out, but Town Administrator Galen Stearns had not removed them from the proposed budget.

Councilor Joshua Bourdon expressed concern about the move. “With the current climate of heroin addiction and drug-related-crimes, we can expect these issues to quadruple,” he said. Bourdon added that the Feds and state government are cutting their Department of Human Services budgets, and that if Derry cuts police, it will be a disaster.

Osborne, a lawyer in private practice, pointed out that he deals with addicts every day, and he would rather see them in rehabilitation centers than in jail. “Putting them in a jail cell will not solve the epidemic,” Osborne said.

“Well, you’re going to be busier if we cut Derry officers,” Bourdon said.

Osborne said, “I don’t take Derry cases.” He has said previously that he thinks it is a conflict of interest to take cases where he serves as a Councilor.

Chairman Tom Cardon clarified that they were removing four positions, the two vacant ones and two currently filled.

The vote was 4-3 for removing the positions, with Cardon, David Fischer, Al Dimmock and Osborne in the affirmative and Bourdon, Phyllis Katsakiores and Richard Tripp against it.

The department also saw its overtime budget cut by $150,000 (See related story page below).