WPCNR MATINEE NEWS, UPDATED by John F. Bailey, 3/13/02, 2:00 pM EST: After receiving a revised proposal from the Center for Government Research (CGR), the Common Council heard the ordinances authorizing an $84,000 study of the city Police and Fire Departments. No councilperson commented on the revised proposal submitted by CGR last week.
The Council will meet again Friday morning at 8:30 AM to hear the second readings and vote on the authorization of the study that will study the fire and police operations, and exclude emergency services from the study.
Last Wednesday, the council raised the issue of the competency of the CGR-recommended fire department expert, who it was revealed had only managed a volunteer fire department in his work experience.
This troubled the Council.
Councilman Tom Roach discovered this situation, through a routine casual question. Charles Zettek, Jr., Director of Government Management Services, and Project Director for CGR, revealed that his fire department consultant had managed a fire department but not one that was unionized.
Last week, Councilman Robert Greer expressed reservations about an expert passing judgment on a professional, union-run fire department without the experience of running such a department.
Zettek agreed to seek out a fire department consultant with more heavyweight professional fire department background.
Zettek’s most recent proposal issued Friday finds big time fire guy.
In the new proposal, Zettek writes that CGR plans to use James Harrington, described as being “active in the fire services for over 30 years, which included 19 years working for I.S.O., and worked with CGR on the New Rochelle Fire Station Study, as well as having conducted fire department studies as an independent consultant.”
Second “Fire Hire” Sought.
Zettek reports in his final proposal to the Council that “CGR also intends to use a veteran who has served in a large city fire department and has working knowledge of the requirements of the professional fire service in a union environment.”
The proposal as received, we believe on Friday of last week, reports “CGR has several candidates for this service and is currently negotiating with them. The city will be notified of the person selected once that person becomes a part of the CGR team for this project.”
Other Metro Areas to be Studied. Budget Impacts of Alternatives to be Modeled
The CGR study in addition to studying the present Department of Public Safety structure in White Plains, will go to other areas and attempt to find governments similar enough to White Plains, and then identify those factors that are unique to White Plains that have to be considered in any comparison analysis. CGR will identify a range of comparable municipalities to use in the study to put White Plains’ performance, service, cost/performance and cost/service performance parameters into perspective, and relate these parameters to alternative management structures.
Study to provide a model of a separate police and fire department.
CGR is expected in their study to compare the present combined police-fire operation to a “separate Police and Fire department model, and possibly other models, if they appear applicable to the White Plains/New York environment.”
Budgets to be Projected.
The money question is expected to be answered by the study. CGR states, it will be important to use cost and performance data over a multi-year time period and that it plans to develop recommendations based upon an analysis of trends within the comparables, and to make reasonable projections for the next 5 to 10 years.
The study is expected to take 12 weeks.
The Common Council will meet in the Mayor’s Conference Room at City Hall again at 8:30 AM to hear the ordinances a second time.