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Posted: November 15, 2008 5:00 a.m.

PPD officers’ to have take-home cars back

Porterdale city council members decided at their monthly meeting Monday night to allow the city's police officers to take home their patrol vehicles once more.

The decision not to allow the officers to take home their cars was one made by the council at the suggestion of city manager Tom Fox as a way to cut costs to the financially crippled city. The decision is one that Mayor Bobby Hamby disagrees with.

"My position is that I try to look out for the city as a whole and when it came up that we needed to make cuts I felt like it should be across the board," said Hamby. "The other departments cut the amount suggested (20 percent) or more and I think the police department could tighten their belts in ways that would benefit the town financially."

Hamby said that many workers in other departments in Porterdale have elected to give up their health insurance because with the cuts in work hours and pay they cannot afford it. He also said the police department is already roughly $95,000 over budget right now, according to financial reports.

"I feel they could find ways to cut their budget and help in this financial situation and it appears they are not willing to do that and they are using a couple of council members to get what they want. I think we have a wonderful police department, but I think they could improve and make better financial decisions."

According to Hamby, the police department receiving the OK from the council to hire back a furloughed officer, along with the recent decision to give officers back their take-home cars, is not only hurting the city financially, but it is also putting a damper on employee morale as well.

"It affects the rest of the employees that they are being cut and the police department is not," Hamby said. "They are working really hard and they have stepped up to try and keep the same level of service to the city with less people and less hours. The city just cannot afford this."

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