Township Trustee David Joseph said Monday night at the board meeting that Supervisor Michael Lovelock picked Joseph, Clerk Cindy Berry and Trustee Hank Anderson to comprise a group to explore the potential police layoff issue.
Joseph, who called for a hold on the staff reductions at the last board meeting, said the mission of the group is "to keep as many police officers on the street and reduce as many layoffs as possible."
He said, despite previous heated exchanges between board members, he feels confident they will work productively together to reach an outcome. He also said they have met with police union reps and Police Chief Bruce Smith to explore concessions that could potentially save jobs.
A final suggested outcome will ideally be reached about 50 days after the moratorium was set.
Lovelock said, "hopefully in the end, we can come up with a conclusion we can all be happy with."
Township officials have discussed putting a police tax increase proposal back to voters, but with a time cap. The previous, rejected ballot initiative for an additional 2.5 mills called for a collection in perpetuity. The department has an exisiting 5-mill collection with no end date. They have not officially decided whether to put the matter back to voters at this time.
In addition to the work group meetings, the public will be invited to join discussions to offer opinions, suggestions and ideas, Berry said. Residents interested in participating in the work sessions must be available to attend meetings regarding the police issue in March and April. The meetings at Municipal Offices are:
- A public meeting at 7 p.m. March 14 in which township officials will listen to residents' thoughts on the subject.
- A work group involving township officials, police and residents at 6 p.m. March 21 to take in consideration suggestions from the public meeting.
- A public meeting at 7 p.m. March 28 to discuss work group's progress.
- A work group meeting at 6 p.m. April 4 involving township officials, police and residents to examine possible recommendations to the board.
Anyone interested in joining the work group can pick up forms at Municipal Offices and return them by March 11 to the clerk or supervisor's office.
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