Creation of Dearborn Police Position Irks Union in Face of Recent Cuts

The new captain position will include an 8 percent raise, but will even out to the former job's costs with hourly and overtime pay, according to Police Chief Ronald Haddad.

Dearborn City Council on Tuesday approved the creation of a new captain position within the Dearborn Police Department, but not without pushback from some who felt that the move was unfair, given recent cutbacks to all city employees.

The position will replace an existing position within the department, essentially “promoting” one of the department’s supervisory officers to the rank of captain. The measure was approved by council, 5-1, with Council President Tom Tafelski dissenting and Councilwoman Nancy Hubbard absent.

Gregg Allgeier, president of the Police Officers Association of Dearborn, took issue with the fact that the position—which is salaried and an 8 percent higher payrate that the job it’s replacing—comes just after the 143-member POAD agreed to contract changes that he said included “unprecedented concessions.”

Among them, Allgeier listed, were that POAD members took legacy cuts and added health care costs, as well as agreed to work 12-hour shifts.

Additionally, the union signed a memorandum of understanding that says that the city is now required to staff 180 officers total—including higher ranking officers. The memo supersedes the city charter, which requires a minimum of 205 officers, based on Dearborn’s population. The charter’s minimum staffing requirement was approved by voters in 2004, but can be overruled by union negotiations.

“My members took at least a 10 percent concession with this contract,” Allgeier told council. “I’d like the council to be aware that these are unprecedented concessions … to accommodate the city with cost savings.”

“We feel that we’re doing more with less … and we don’t see any reason with, 25 less officers, that the chief cannot get by with his current staffing model.”

Tafelski agreed, stating that although the salary raise is commensurate with what the previous position was paying based on hourly and overtime rates, a raise is still a raise.

“My issue with it is … everybody’s taking cuts,” Tafelski said. “Why are we giving him a higher baseline to that cutback?”

Police Chief Ronald Haddad argued that the change in supervisory staff is a necessary one for the “balance of the chain of command, as well as my budget.”

He pointed out that the request came just after council recognized, in the same meeting, a total of $120,000 in grant funding the police department successfully secured.

“We fight real hard for extra dollars … and while I respect POAD, what I need to run is a department,” Haddad said, adding that, “it really doesn’t matter what the numbers are at the bottom; you still need an officer at the top of every shift.”

Moreover, Haddad pointed out that all city employees are being asked to take cuts in the face of budget woes.

"In every level of our department in our city, no matter what the pay scale is, we’re all going to take a 10 percent drop," he said.

Councilmen Mark Shooshanian and David Bazzy both expressed that as long as the budget amount was not more, they were fine with the position change.

“This is not going to create an incremental dollar amount to your overall budget structure,” Bazzy said. “I’m going to take you at your word on that.”

Youssef December 05, 2012 at 08:18 PM
So, let me get this straight... The police force can go against a city charter amendment in which the people voted for to cut back on police officers protecting our city??? Why the heck did we vote for this if the PD is going to do what it wants??? This is outrageous. Those officers risk their butts every day to keep us safe, and when they ask for more officers to watch their backs, and the citizens in Dearborn hear their pleas and vote to get more officers on the streets, the higher ups just slash away at it, calling on more cuts to the boots on the ground, yet go ahead with adding a second line position that mainly sits in an office while crime in Dearborn is on an up & up, this includes violent crimes. Kudos to Tom Tafelski for standing with our officers who risk their lives for us day in and day out!
City of Dearborn December 05, 2012 at 08:36 PM
They have received several grants that help with paying for officers, but I don't know that this means on top of the officers they already have. The force has been hovering around 180 for some time, so this union memo is really just solidifying what's already been true in terms of the number of officers. I think this is the grant you were referring to - to hire veterans? http://patch.com/A-v6PQ
Concerned and Interested December 05, 2012 at 11:03 PM
This was my point prior to the election. You get what you pay for. If you continue to cut pay and services, you get employees whom are not qualified or able to service the citizens of Dearborn. If you hire someone that can handle pushing the "S" for small or the "L" for large then go ahead and pay them McDonald wages. Never mind what the residents want. By the By, government workers are not paid all that well in the first place. With all the cuts this year they are just above poverty income. Some making under poverty level. The solution lately has been to hire contract workers or temps. There is good city service for ya.
Nickel January 24, 2013 at 02:11 AM
Youssef A challenge was made at the City Council regarding minimum staffing and it turns out that legally, when the city and union bargain something contrary to what the charter says, the negotiated agreement trumps the charter. As for the captain positions, the chief of police makes it sound like chump change. How has this department operated for so many years without a captain position? What is interesting, if he promotes lieutenants to these positions, are the lieutenant positions going to be unfilled. Not likely as the contract for sergeants and lieutenants does not expire until mid year. Guaranteed that if the captain positions are made before then, the union will be fighting to promote two sergeants and of course if two sergeants are promoted then two corporals need to be promoted to sergeant. Figure the math. A sergeant makes 21% more than a corporal, a lieutenant 11% more than a sergeant and now a captain will make 8% more than a lieutenant. So if the sergeants and lieutenant positions are not vacated and promotions are made, the city will dole out a minimum of $170,000 more, which is considerably more than the 8% more than what the chief says it will cost the city taxpayers. The chief makes it sound like it will cost less than $30,000 for these 2 promotions. The City Council dropped the ball. The union presented an excellent case to deny the captains positions, fell on deaf ears though, except for Tafelski
Nickel January 24, 2013 at 02:14 AM
by the way, this article is misleading, I understood the chief to state he wanted 2 captain positions


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