Consolidate Police, Fire and more…

The interlocking nature of the Dearborn-Dearborn Heights borders makes sharing attractive, even though the size of the two cities may mean supervisory roles are not as redundant as they are in smaller municipalities.

We may have to look at police and fire staffing unless alternatives are found, like other cities in the area.

Currently, the state legislature is looking at changes in the law to protect the rights of organized workers if police and fire services are combined. While still allowing changes, that will save money.

Dearborn Heights may revisit the possibility of combining its District Court with Garden City.

Residents and taxpayers may be asked to take action to shore up the huge drop in property tax revenue if they want to continue the quality services they have associated with living here.

Given the number of vacant homes in our cities and rising crime rates, a reduction in the number of police and firefighters is not something anyone wants to advocate. However, at the very least, some kind of sharing, cooperation or consolidation might allow the reduction of supervisory staffing to get more officers on the street offering direct help to residents. Source: Press and Guide

Until the state changes what the law is now I do not see how this could benefit either city.

“The way the state law is now, if you combine two cities’ departments, you have to go by whatever contracts have the best compensation,” Dearborn Heights Mayor Daniel Paletko said. “A lot of times, you end up looking at it and seeing it’s not even going to save any money.”

This, however, is a misinterpretation of the law, according to its defenders such as Mark Docherty, president of the Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union. He pointed to an attempt to clarify the statute last legislative session with Senate Bills 1085 and 1086.

“SB 1085/1086 clarified that each employee did not have to be raised to the highest wage and benefits of each group. Each bargaining group would maintain their own contract till it expired,” Docherty wrote in a statement submitted to the House Committee on Local, Intergovernmental and Regional Affairs.

Whereas the Senate bills attempted to clarify the unclear language, the new House bills would simply eliminate it.

The House bills, in their current form, also would void existing contracts. They would be replaced by a contract imposed by the new authority, according to testimony submitted to the committee. Source: Press and Guide

“What HB 4309 does is completely strip away any wages, seniority, health care, pensions or any other benefits that the employees of the acquired groups have,” Docherty said.

I just do not think that would be fair to strip people of everything they have worked for and make them start all over. There has to be a better way then this, but if the consolidation of the Dearborn and Dearborn Heights library took one year, imagine how long it would take to do something like this. The way everyone is talking from the state down you would think that this can happen in one weeks time budgets have to be balanced now not two or three years from now. While these may be some good ideas how are they going to play out in the 2011 budget, or for that matter this budget we are in now. Ladies and Gentlemen this is something that we should all be watching very closely I do beleive that this should come before the voters of what ever city is considering doing these things.



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