Sunday, March 20, 2011

Police and pension will be top on city leaders’ minds

Police and pension will be top on city leaders’ minds in the coming months as they look to run Traverse City more like a business – an efficient and successful business. As Mayor Chris Bzdok describes it: some people focus on cost, some on the level of service, but the goal is to look at the intersection of the two and deliver value.

First up: the local police force. The city is looking at ways to cut police expenses while maintaining public safety. City commissioner Mary Ann Moore is chair of the group investigating how the department might run more cost-effectively. In early November the city approved a $25,000 contract with Alexander Weiss Consulting of Illinois to perform a “workload analysis” of the city’s police force.

Moore says the consultant is looking at “right sizing” the police staff – and at ways to streamline the police structure. She is quick to add that Police Chief Michael Warren is in total agreement with the analysis.

Next: the pension issue – involving city police, fire personnel and other bargaining units. The pensions are underfunded by $38 million dollars. To understand the issues and options moving forward, check out the November archives on the mayor’s website, – Lynn Geiger