Open Letter from Mayor Seskin - Abolish the DF Police Dept?
On September 11th , a day of national mourning, the Dobbs Ferry PBA sent a letter telling you that the Mayor and the Board of Trustees are seeking to abolish the Dobbs Ferry Police Department. Nothing is further from the truth.
Let’s look at the record. On July 14, 2007 the Dobbs Ferry PBA requested that former Mayor Joseph Bova pass a resolution seeking grant money to study shared services with the Greenburgh Police Department. On that date, at the request of the Dobbs Ferry PBA, Mayor Bova, Trustee Koenigsberg and I met with the Greenburgh PBA and members of the Greenburgh town board. Mr. Hennessey, President of the PBA, explained the benefits of sharing services including improved union benefits as well as access to better training facilities.
On November 13, 2007, at the request of Brian Hennessy and the Dobbs Ferry PBA, Mayor Bova proposed a resolution authorizing the village to seek a grant from NY State to study ways in which the Dobbs Ferry Police Department and Greenburgh Police Department could share, combine and/ or eliminate duplicative services in order to save taxpayer dollars while increasing or maintaining the police services that we currently enjoy. In December, 2007 as newly elected Mayor of Dobbs Ferry, I submitted a letter of support along with one from Dobbs Ferry Police Chief Betsy Gelardi and Supervisor Paul Feiner to authorize Village Administrator Anthony Giaccio to author and submit a grant application to the State.
In July, 2008, the State of
On July 14, 2008, both the
When completed, the results of the study will be made available to the public and the Village will be free to accept or reject any or all of the recommendations. Any of the recommendations which may be accepted will be reviewed and adopted in a public forum. I would like to make it clear though, that there is no intention to abolish the Dobbs Ferry Police Department and a decision could only be accomplished by a referendum voted upon by the entire Village and not by an act of the Mayor or the Board of Trustees.
We as a Village must question why the PBA would seek to spread fear and untruths in the community. That answer is simple; The PBA fears the changes which may come from such a study, which may ultimately affect their jobs. However, the Mayor and Board of Trustees have a responsibility to our residents, who are already over burdened by high taxes, to investigate any and all sources for saving taxpayer dollars. I continually hear the complaints of our residents who are paying $20,000, $30,000 and $40,000 a year in taxes, that they can’t afford to live in Dobbs Ferry any longer. With declining revenues and reduced monies coming from the State, we have no choice but to examine every area where we can save money; the only alternative is to continue to raise taxes even more and that is simply unacceptable. The Dobbs Ferry Police Department has 28 officers and many of them do not live in Dobbs Ferry or share yours and my tax burden.
Three members of the Dobbs Ferry Police Department are currently assigned to task forces which we currently participate in with the Town of Greenburgh: S.W.A.T. team, Marine Unit, the Ceremonial Unit as well as the Drug and Alcohol Task Force; in fact, one of our officers is assigned full-time to the Drug and Alcohol Task Force, spending a great deal of his time policing other communities in the County, some of which do not even participate in the Task Force itself. Nonetheless, Dobbs Ferry taxpayers bear the burden which includes tens of thousands of dollars in overtime. It may no longer be appropriate in these dire economic times to take three Dobbs Ferry taxpayer supported Police Officers to participate in activities away from the Village full-time; activities which not only do not directly help our Village but in fact benefit our neighboring Villages who choose to save their taxpayer dollars by not participating! As a taxpayer, you have a right to question precisely what our officers do in these task forces and what results they have reaped for the
Like you, I live in this community with my family and pay the same taxes that you pay. Safety is my primary concern both for my family and yours. There is no good reason why we can’t work together to explore ways to save our taxpayer dollars while increasing or maintaining the benefits which we currently enjoy. So the next time someone for the PBA sends you a letter to discourage you from exercising your right to “know” or to put you in fear for your safety, take a long hard look at who’s sending it and ask yourself why they would be sending it to you. You might be surprised at the answers you get!
Mayor Seskin asked me to posted this letter on GroundReport as a way of entering it into the cyber-report.
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