Police costs an issue in Brackenridge mayoral race
Police department costs appear to be the prime issue in the pursuit of the Democratic nomination for Brackenridge mayor.
Mayor Tom Kish, an Allegheny Ludlum retiree, is seeking the nomination and a second four-year term.
He is being challenged for the nomination by Joseph Nasser, a retired state liquor store manager and former Highlands school director.
There are no Republicans on the May 21 primary ballot.
Oversight of the police department is the single major statutory responsibility held by mayors in borough government.
“After reviewing Mayor Kish's policies, I believe that they are spending too much money on overtime,” Nasser said. “I would like to cut down on that and use the money that is saved to repair streets in Brackenridge.”
Nasser said that $11,200 has been spent on overtime in the first four months of this year and believes that is too much.
Nasser thinks that the hiring of a fifth full-time officer, for which Kish strongly argued, was not needed. He said the borough should have relied on part-time officers to supplement the department.
“I would like to hire two part-timers and schedule them for 20 to 25 hours per week,” Nasser said. “When full-timers go on vacation, we can schedule them and eliminate the overtime.”
He conceded that the police contract could pose an obstacle to that but said he would try to reopen the contract and negotiate more favorable language.
Kish, however, argues that hiring the fifth full-time officer has given residents more for their tax dollar.
“I got a full-time officer hired at no expense to the taxpayers,” he said. “I've been using the overtime money that we were using. I'm using it on a full-time officer for more protection on the street, more drug work.”
He said the borough had been spending $70,000 a year on police overtime before the fifth full-time officer was hired.
“A full-time officer's salary is half of that,” Kish said. “You can't judge it just on three months.”
“The money was researched, everything was researched with the fifth full-time officer,” he said. “If you don't have the fifth full-time officer, then the overtime would stay at about $70,000.”
He said that overtime has to be offered to the lowest salaried officer first and from there it goes up the pay scale. If none of the full-time officers wants the extra hours, then part-timers can be called in to work.
Also, he said the overtime in the past two years can be misleading because of the ATI-Allegheny Ludlum mill construction project.
He said overtime paid to officers who are called out to work on traffic control for the project, is reimbursed to the borough by Ludlum.
As for how he views the mayor's role beyond the police department, Kish said it involves meeting with residents and taking their calls so that he can take their concerns to council.
“It's definitely more than just the police department,” he said. “I've got 3,000 residents who call me about their problems.”
Nasser said he views the mayor's role as being a watchdog for borough residents, particularly in the area of spending.
“There's a lot of things that are going on right now with them spending money, and I would voice my opinion,” he said.
Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Stretch of Route 56 to close
- Burrell’s curriculum evolves creatively
- Freezing rain menaces Alle-Kiski Valley roadways
- Alle-Kiski Valley slips into the holiday spirit with Light Up Night festivities
- Eagle Scout project gives Knoch High Stadium press box a face-lift
- Knoch graduate a success in male-dominant profession
- Machinists ranked No. 1 occupation by Department of Labor
- Springdale Library to pay rent to borough
- Positives seen despite Valley Junior-Senior High School performance scores
- Deer Lakes hires new superintendent
- Brackenridge high-rise infested with bed bugs