Both the fire and police departments have been the focus of task force efforts to determine personnel levels and review other issues. The fire department has seven firefighters at or approaching retirement eligibility within the next year, city officials said, and the police department has a young staff that has seen turnover with departures for career reasons.
Michael Lynch, council member for the Fourth Ward, said he was concerned about taking positions out of the budget, plus the idea of adding them if a need develops in the police department. It isn’t realistic to expect a department head to seek candidates and make a hiring request for an unfunded position, he said.
Larry Malone, Second Ward council member and chairman of the Finance Committee, echoed Lynch’s concerns because a “sudden exodus” of one to three police officers “could put us in a pickle because you don’t just go out and rent a cop.”