Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Record: Council considers hiring 4 officers

Council considers hiring 4 officers

Thursday, March 8, 2012
The Record

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS – After painting a dire budget picture just last month, the Borough Council is considering hiring four police officers and a dispatcher.
Mayor Joseph Parisi, who has long advocated the hiring of more police, said the additional officers and creation of a civilian dispatcher position would help eliminate overtime. The borough spent about $500,000 last year on overtime, well over the $300,000 that was budgeted.
Parisi said he thinks overtime could be cut to $275,000 with the additional hires and plans to work with the police chief to change the organizational structure of the department to further reduce costs.
"It makes sense," he said. "You have to look at both ends of the spectrum."
Parisi also said adding a dispatcher would take an officer from behind the desk and put him on the street.
Although the council discussed the preliminary budget Monday it did not present any documents to the public. The council plans to introduce the 2012 spending plan at its next meeting on Tuesday.
Police Chief Michael Cioffi brought four police officer candidates and introduced his nephew, Christian Drimones, as the dispatcher candidate.
Resident Mary O'Shea questioned how the council could be hiring police without advertising for the positions.
"If the council hasn't discussed hiring police officers why would the police committee interview candidates if they don't know that the council wants to hire candidates?" she said.
Council President Joseph Favaro said Cioffi did advertise the positions and Parisi said even without advertising the borough had received hundreds of résumés in recent years.
Parisi asked the candidates to briefly introduce themselves during public comment.
All four police officer candidates are working for other agencies and have already been through the police academy. One of the candidates speaks fluent Korean, something Parisi said would be an asset in the borough.
Several residents remarked on the qualification of the men, but took issue with Drimones becoming a police dispatcher.
Drimones, a lifelong resident and longtime volunteer firefighter is the son of fire Chief George Drimones and former Democratic Councilwoman Patricia Drimones, the police chief's sister.
When Parisi asked if he had any experience as a dispatcher, Drimones said he had obtained the necessary certification and taken online courses.
Cioffi said many of the men would be taking pay cuts to work for the Englewood Cliffs Police Department because they want to serve the community.
"They are very well qualified, good gentlemen and any one of them would be an asset to the community," he said.
Starting salary for police officers is $34,999.
Councilman Ilan Plawker, the police commissioner, was not at Monday's meeting but said Wednesday that he hopes to have the hires on next week's council agenda for a vote.

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