Albion deputy mayor says village needs to correct error in overpaying police officers
Friends, neighbors and community residents, it is great to see so many people engaged in what is going on currently in the Village of Albion, even though I would rather have it of a more positive engagement.
I am not going to dazzle you with a bunch of dates and sound bites – that is being done already. I am most happy that many residents and concerned citizenry have FOIL requested information to be able to decide for themselves where their feelings lie.
As one of your elected officials, my role is to first consider the community and then responsibly work with the village employees. Sometimes this includes great news and sometimes you must have the strength to deliver bad news.
I want to be clear, our village police force is a very vital part of our community. Like any other departments, when there is a disagreement we try to work it out. If we had underpaid our officers – no question, they would want reimbursement yesterday, and rightly so. It was an error.
In this particular case according to the contract and the verbiage, they were overpaid. The overpayment continues. We have communicated with the leadership and union representatives of the police force and informed them of the overpayment, even before the amount determined by the auditors was finalized. We informed the union leadership that their pay would be adjusted according to the contract. After one payroll it was reversed, against legal advice, and continues this day.
No one wants their wages cut, but we need the courage to do that until an agreement can be reached on the rest. As a village trustee we must exercise fiscal responsibility in executing the police contract salaries as it is written.
As an aside, we are currently trying to process and hire additional police officers to be fully staffed and that will have an effect on our budget.
Again, I would encourage you to personally review the facts.
Joyce A. Riley
Deputy Mayor for Village of Albion