The Finance, Budget, and Personnel Committee approved a request October 16 by the Marshfield Police Department to hire an individual to replace an officer who will be deployed to Afghanistan with the National Guard.
Police Chief Rick Gramza said that the department aims to have four officers and a commanding officer on duty at all times and only rarely falls below that number. This year, there have been 93 shifts worked below minimum staffing and 120 shifts with the need to call in overtime, or 37% of total shifts. The budget for overtime in 2018 was $129,000. As of August $128,000 had been spent, largely due to unanticipated overtime to prevent falling below minimum staffing, and it will be $50,000 over budget.
The department has struggled with staffing the last three years due to injuries on and off duty, family medical leave, among other things. Three officers are currently on light duty and are expected to return later in October and December. There will be two planned Leaves of Absence early next year.
After the individual returns from his deployment late next year at the earliest, the decision could be made to lay off the new hire or retain him or her until a retirement. There are three employees at retirement age, but no intentions have been made known. Gramza spoke with a labor attorney, who said it is common for agencies of Marshfield’s size to hire someone when an officer is being deployed.
After discussion, the motion passed unanimously. The video for the meeting can be found on the City website at this link.