PTC manager: cut 3 police captains

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A major change to the command structure of the Peachtree City Police Department is one of several personnel changes being recommended to the City Council by City Manager Jim Pennington.

At Thursday’s council meeting, up for discussion is a suggestion to eliminate three of four existing captain positions. Pennington is also suggesting to eliminate the position of major and replace it by creating a new position for assistant police chief.

That proposed structure, Pennington said in a memo to city council, will give Police Chief H.C. “Skip” Clark “more direct command responsibility and support while allowing for a decrease in administrative expenses.”

The amount of potential savings, however, is not delineated in Pennington’s memo.

If approved by council, the three captain positions would be “phased out” with the final elimination no later than Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

The current organization features one captain in charge of the entire patrol unit along with the community response team, one in charge of administrative services, one in charge of the criminal investigations division and one in charge of the professional standards office.

The new structure would create a new captain’s position that would supervise the entire patrol unit, community response team and criminal investigations. The office of professional standards would be overseen by a lieutenant instead of a captain, and that lieutenant would supervise an accreditation manager, a training sergeant and a training officer.

Also, the number of patrol lieutenants would be reduced from four to two, with the remaining two patrol lieutenants responsible for supervising two different shifts worth of officers, a total of 18 subordinates each. Currently there are four patrol lieutenants, one for each shift. Each current patrol lieutenant supervises eight officers plus one sergeant, but one of them also supervises the seven-man community response team.

The reorganization will also move the school resource officers under the supervision of the community response team lieutenant instead of the current scenario where they are under the criminal investigations division.

In other personnel changes not affecting the police department, Pennington is recommending to leave vacant the administrative services director position at City Hall and eliminating a full-time customer service representative to be replaced by two part-timers (savings of $19,415).

Pennington also wants to eliminate the position of executive assistant and replace it with a position entitled administrative services coordinator that has increased supervisory responsibilities. That change would cost the city an additional $3,851 a year due to the corresponding salary grade increase.

Pennington also is recommending a change to the city’s compensatory time policy that would require employees to receive overtime pay at time and a half for all hours worked over 40 per week. Department heads would be allowed to approve comp time to be accrued at the same rate, though it must be used within six weeks of accrual or paid out to remove it from the city’s records.

Pennington in his memo noted that the city budgets only 1 percent of its total payroll costs for overtime pay for the current fiscal year, and city managers make sure overtime is used only “when absolutely necessary.”

Pennington is also recommending changes to the city’s leave policies including:
• A cap on accrued sick leave for new employees of 240 hours. Existing city employees have a cap of 480 hours but the only time it is paid out is upon employment separation is if the employee retires or dies, according to Pennington’s memo;
• Discontinuing incentive programs for employees to earn additional paid leave each year for safety (avoiding an at-fault vehicle/equipment accident or on-the-job injury) or perfect attendance (with no sick leave or time off used in any pay period).
• Because those programs are being eliminated to simplify the leave policy, Pennington is recommending that the city add one floating holiday for each employee that would not be paid out upon employment separation.