WPCNR Midnight Special, By John F. Bailey, 5/25/02, UPDATE 1 filed at 11:30 PM EST: The Common Council, with Members Benjamin Boykin, William King, Robert Greer, Rita Malmud, and Glen Hockley attending Monday night, heard the first reading of an ordinance rescinding the Police/Fire Study. They will meet again Tuesday night at 7 PM
to hear the ordinance and vote it.
COUNCIL MINUS DELFINO-SAN LISTENS TO THE ORDINANCE:
Photo by WPCNR
With Mayor Delfino somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, flying to Japan, the Council began the process of killing the Police Fire Study they had already approved March 11.
Council President Benjamin Boykin presided over the five-member council.
Firefighters refuse to be interviewed.
Boykin said the firefighters’ union asked the Council not to do the study. Boykin reported to WPCNR that the union told the Council they would not allow their membership to be interviewed for the study, which was planned to begin today (Tuesday).
Boykin commented to WPCNR after the reading of the ordinance, that he still felt “this was the right time to do the study.” Asked if the firefighters were displeased with the firm, or had given any reason for backing out of the study, Boykin demurred, saying “Ask the union.”
WPCNR asked Mr. Boykin if this wasn’t an embarrassment to him, considering how strongly he had personally called for a study of the police-fire operations in his Council President’s address in February. Boykin said, “You said that, I didn’t.”
Union has other agenda.
Earlier Monday, Boykin told WPCNR the union has an agenda it wanted to address in labor contract negotiations which begin Tuesday, and “was not looking for the Council to do the study at this time.”
Despite earlier reports from city hall spokesman Paul Wood that the study was dead forever, Boykin left the door open to do the study at some future date Monday evening, but “not any time soon,” (his words).
City Hall Shocker!
George Gretsas, the Mayor’s Executive Officer, said that the Mayor’s office had not received indication from the firefighters union that they had any reservations about the selection of CGR (Center for Government Research), to do the study at any time leading up to the Council approval of the study.
At the public hearing March 11, when the study was approved by the Council, Jim Donahoe, sitting next to Acting Public Safety Commissioner Daniel Hickey, the President of the White Plains Professional Firefighters did not comment at all, as the Council heard from the CGR representative outlining the study. Not one word.
Man from CGR already in-town, sent packing
Kent Gardner, a representative of the Center for Government Research, in town for the start of the study, arrived at City Hall just prior to the Council meeting at 6 PM Monday, and spoke with George Gretsas.
The Common Council offered no public comment or apology to Mr. Gardner regarding the Common Council eleventh hour change of commitment to the study.
No contract signed.
Gretsas reported that the city had not signed a contract with CGR for the study, and would reimburse CGR for travel expenses to White Plains already booked.
Second time in year, Democratic Council has backed off
At the beginning of 2001, the council was offered an opportunity to study the Police-Fire organization in White Plains as to its effectiveness. At that time, they rejected a study because of the expense, (approximately $200,000).
This time, apparently the price was right, but the fire department rejected the idea of being studied.