The Jacksonville City Counsel approved a request by Police Chief Adam Mefford, to add a 5th sergeant position on the force in an effort to minimize costs to the city, and strain on existing command staff due to scheduled medical absences in the near future.
“Three of our command staff are scheduled for surgeries in the next year. This will leave one shift, for the next at least six to eight months short handed with only one supervisor, and when we do that, in order to cover vacation and holidays, by contract we have to hire back another supervisor at an overtime rate, to cover those deficiencies in the shift.
By promoting within the department and not hiring another officer to replace that officer, we are only talking about a couple thousand dollars in salary jump from patrolman to sergeant. But by making that promotion, that sergeant is able to cover those shift shortages, in lieu of having to pay someone call back pay in order to have them come back and cover those shifts.
So over the term of the eight months, the amount of money that we are going to save in overtime would justify promoting that sergeant position because the promotion will save the city more, than handing out that overtime in the long run.”
Mefford said that the 5th sergeant position has been available for sometime, however leaving it unfilled has given the department flexibility to adapt to changing staff needs while keeping an eye on the budget.
“The 5th sergeant position has been an available position in the department, I have just chosen not to fulfill it over the last few years in order to be fiscally responsible with salary and benefits. However it is noice to have that in reserve for times like this, when we can bring that 5th sergeant back, plug them into a shift and fulfill that command staff position.”
Mefford said that the flexibility of the 5th position will also be a benefit as some staff approach retirement.
“The majority of our command staff is hitting their 20 year mark, and some of them over the 20 year mark, and approaching that retirement age. So in the next few years that attrition would set in, and unless staffing levels were to support keeping that 5th sergeant, we would revert back to four through attrition over the next couple of years.”
The Jacksonville City Counsel unanimously approved the request during their meeting at the municipal building Tuesday night.