Slow week

April 9, 2008

Sorry for the lack of posts this past week or so, but it’s been kinda slow, not much has got my dander up. I’ve been having a running debate with reader Dan about whether or not a Senior Center at Cushing Park is a good idea, and if our discussion is any indication of how the city in general views the subject, it may be a difficult and interesting project to get completed.

I try to keep this blog strictly local, but there have been a few issues on the State level that would have a direct effect on cities like ours so I’m going to mention them.

First, I think that the call for Police details to replaced by flag men is long over due. This isn’t an anti cop issue, its become a necessary change to save our towns. You hear these stories of paying a cop $30+ an hour for a minimum of 4 hours (8 in some towns like Gloucester, I believe). That means if the job only takes 45 minutes you are still paying for that police officer long after he has gone home. This all adds up. If you look at the salaries of the top paid city employees on any given year, there are always a number of police officers way up on that list, many making more in overtime than they do for salary.

Now, we’re in a tough situation because those cops depend on that overtime money, especially in Newburyport. A police officer would be hard pressed to be able to afford to live in Newburyport based on their salary alone. The overtime offers them a way to live in the very town they are sworn to protect, and that is something i think is extremely important. But we as a state and a city are broke, and we can’t afford to keep taxing our citizens to make up the difference.

Perhaps a compromise could be worked out where police officers could be hired as the flag men, to work on their days off and their free time, but at a reasonable rate, and paid for the hours they are actually on the site. Its not perfect for the cops, but it’s better than nothing, and the city could save some money.

At any rate it will be interesting to see what happens.



  1. But have you checked locally to see just how many Newburyport police officers actually live in Newburyport? or even ‘Special officers’? Not even Deputy Dog Howard lives here. Not many of our officers can afford to live here even with road work? Should tell us something. I also would like to see local officers due to the fact they don’t need ‘directions during an emergency and are more in tune with city operations and the residents when we shop, worship and play together as a community.
    $30.00 per hour is the low end of the issue. A minimum of two hours are paid for sometimes no shows (on both sides, contractor and duty personnel) and does not take ‘administrative fees’ into count.

  2. There are actually several officers that i know of that live in Newburyport, but I’m sure it requires two healthy incomes, for certain. Either way, the system as is, is broken and costing us money, and it should be fixed.

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