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November 29, 2012

Oneonta police task force to meet Dec. 13

Staff Report
The Daily Star

---- — The recently formed task force to study staffing, resources and other Oneonta Police Department matters will meet for the first time Dec. 13, the mayor said Wednesday.

Members of the Oneonta Common Council have vigorously debated a proposed cut of two vacant police positions in the department to save money in the 2013 city budget, which is due to be approved at Tuesday’s meeting. Council members are poised to keep one of the positions, based on a discussion after a public hearing this week on the proposed budget.

The task force will consider the second position, the overall level of staffing and expenditures of the Oneonta Police Department, which is authorized for 28 positions.

Mayor Dick Miller said the first meeting in City Hall at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 13 will be a time to define the task force and its goals. A task force formed last year to study the Oneonta Fire Department had successful results, including approving an additional position and boosting the part-time firefighter program, he said.

From the police department, task force members will be Detective Sgt. Jeffrey Jump and Sgt. Branden Collison and detectives Eric Berger and Jennifer Torres and officer Brian Cetnar.  Miller said he appointed Jump and Berger, who subsequently appointed others.

Miller, Police Chief Dennis Nayor and Lt. Douglas Brenner are on the panel. The task force also includes Meg Hungerford, director of finance, Kathy Wolverton, director of personnel, Michael Long, city manager, and Common Council members Michael Lynch of the Fourth Ward and Maureen Hennessy of the First Ward.

Miller said he his collecting background on the department’s history and data from other communities to establish benchmarks.

Nayor said he is hopeful that the task force will look at staffing levels, the public safety services provided and identify factors that support an efficient, effective and proactive department.

Nayor, who has objected to cutting the two vacant positions, said the task force may identify a need to restore the second cut and add more positions.