[JK: I recently published the email former Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen sent to the City Council regarding his concerns about the staffing level in the Saratoga Springs Police Department. I subsequently published the exchange between Chris and current Public Safety Commissioner Montagnino. Now Chris has further reviewed the statements made by the PBA at the July 5 City Council meeting and has sent the following email to Montagnino. Here are links to the original exchanges: Chris’s original email and the subsequent exchange]
After you responded to my e mail which included my concerns about the PBA presentation describing a serious staffing shortage in our police department, I began to question whether I had heard the points being made by the PBA correctly. While I thought that I heard the PBA representative stating that there were 20 vacancies in the department, you assured me that this was not the case.
I just finished viewing the LOOK TV replay of the July 5 Council meeting. It is much easier to decipher what was being said when viewing the recording. The PBA representative did indeed emphasize more than once that they are facing a busy summer season with 20 vacancies in the department. The officer went on to say that the situation is so serious that investigators may have to be re-assigned to patrol duties, thus significantly impacting that division. It sure sounds like a public safety emergency to me. I would continue to suggest an emergency declaration until further notice to close bars a little earlier so that some of the pressure being placed on our officers can be eased.
You mentioned the recent NYS SLA restrictions imposed on Gaffneys and you seem to infer that this will quell the nightclub district problems. Those problems are much deeper than you seem to realize. Having a strong police presence on Caroline Street every warm-weather weekend is vital to keeping a semblance of peace.
I was thrilled to see that the SSPD actually has funding for 80 positions. We were never able to have more than 72 positions in our budget during my three terms. . Kudos to Commissioner Martin and Commissioner Dalton for achieving those much-needed increases in staffing. But 80 minus 20 equals 60 active members which is not a very desirable position to be in for July and August . It would work fine in January.
It is important that our citizens feel that they can trust those of you in City government. If the PBA was wrong in their count of active members of the police department in their appeal to the Council for a number of labor concessions, you should have pointed that out publicly in your response to their presentation. If the PBA is right, we do have a serious public safety emergency.