2006-07-19 / Editorial

Bee Editorial

Police hiring deadline less than two weeks away

It is shocking how Amherst Town Supervisor Satish Mohan, the Town Board and the

police department cannot complete the hiring of three officers without a lawsuit.

Detective Ed Guzdek Jr., president of the Amherst Police Club, said an attorney has been hired and is currently drafting paperwork to take action against Mohan's refusal to hire the police officers.

"He doesn't have authority to overrule what the Town Board has decided," said Guzdek, explaining the union's position - and its legal argument. "He is overstepping his legal bounds."

The Town Board has twice passed resolutions calling for the hiring of the officers, as agreed upon in 2005 and put into the 2006 budget.

Despite the board's attempts to do the hirings and several meetings with Chief John Moslow, in which the chief explained the department's need, Mohan has repeatedly said he will not hire the officers.

This coming from a man who preaches about following the rules and doing what is right. A resolution is a resolution and must be honored. The people voted for the members of the Town Board, who voted for the hirings, to put the officers on the streets with the people. A chain of events must be followed here to ensure good government.

With an officer retiring just last week, the number of officers on staff once again drops, and Assistant Chief John Askey said more retirements will be coming in the next few months.

We hope the statement doesn't prove to be true, but Guzdek said Mohan has announced he will not hire these officers, or any others next year. A lawsuit doesn't seem so off course, given that attitude.

Is the town going to be facing a second crisis soon? One involving the budget and another with the police force?

Guzdek, who doesn't believe the budget is at a crisis level, is pushing to get the hirings done. But is it too late? The Town Board has been warned by Moslow since the beginning of June that the cutoff date was approaching. The next academy begins Aug. 7, and Askey said the chosen cadets would need to report to the town police department by July 31. In our opinion, with the next Town Board meeting scheduled for Aug. 7, the town will miss the start date. The next academy is January 2007, and each runs for 20 weeks.

Due to a retirement, the force is at 150. With more retirements coming, that number will continue to drop. Get the cadets into training before the town is even more understaffed.

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