Wednesday April 17, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday April 17, 2013

Police Services Board approves chief’s new budget

Hamilton’s Police Services Board has approved a revised budget proposed by Police Chief Glenn De Caire Monday evening, holding the line at the city-requested budget hike of 3.52 per cent.

The vote was 4-2, with board members and city councilors Terry Whitehead and Bernie Morelli opposed.

City councilors earlier expressed anger and dismay at De Caire’s plans to hire additional officers – despite their pleas to hold the staffing levels steady.

At Monday’s meeting De Caire made a last-minute to approve council’s 3.52 per cent budget offer. That amount, which councillors endorsed last week, was intended to allow the police to meet obligatory costs, like wages and benefits, without adding room for new hires.

However, De Caire’s recommendation states that he still plans to hire 15 new officers and one civilian member. While those staff won’t cost much in 2013 – only $383,820 – the additional wage, benefit, and pension costs will make a permanent $1.151 million dent in the city’s budget each year.

“If he’s going to show contempt – and that’s what I see it as – for council, obviously we have to look at more draconian means to address it next year,” said Councillor Terry Whitehead, one of the three councillors on the police board along with Mayor Bob Bratina and Councillor Bernie Morelli. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)