City of Long Branch

LONG BRANCH TO RETURN TO PUBLIC SAFETY DIRECTOR POSITION IN RESPONSE TO POLICE AUDIT

LONG BRANCH TO RETURN TO PUBLIC SAFETY DIRECTOR POSITION IN RESPONSE TO POLICE AUDIT

(LONG BRANCH)- Mayor John Pallone and the City Council announced today that they will be reinstating the position of Public Safety Director in response to a police audit performed by Government Strategy Group  released today. The goal as outlined in the audit, is to improve efficiency, save costs, and better manage all municipal services including Police, Fire, and OEM.

          After taking office in 2018, the Mayor and Council took swift action to eliminate four vacant high-ranking spots from the Police organizational chart - two deputy chief positions, a captain position, and lieutenant position. Doing away with those newly added but still unfilled positions eliminated potential salaries totaling almost $900,000. 

The return of the Director of Public Safety position was carefully studied and strongly recommended by the City’s consultants during their review of the police department.  The costs for it are clearly offset by the administration’s 2018 belt tightening.  

          It was a stated goal of the Mayor and Council to examine all municipal services. A comprehensive review of the police department was initiated through the efforts of an outside entity.   As the City’s largest municipal department accounting for 20% of the municipal budget, it was logical to begin there with a full and objective outside review.  This would provide a beneficial way to examine the inner workings of the department and obtain ideas for its improvement. 

Government Strategy Group conducted a “Review and Evaluation of the Police Department”.  In their conclusions, they indicated that having all of the City’s emergency services including Police, Fire, and OEM under one centralized command, the Office of the Director of Public Safety, will lead to a more efficient and coordinated effort.  Also, reinstating this position will provide our elected officials with a direct and appropriate line of communications to the City’s emergency services departments.  Mayor and Council note that they will be keeping the position of Chief of Police which was also an option suggested in the audit.

The audit paid particular attention to the Long Branch police department division of Support Services. It is specifically noted in the audit that:

“An entire division is devoted to Support Services, consisting of a number of non-sworn and administrative functions plus traffic safety and code enforcement. This division is managed by two ranking positions, a Captain and a Lieutenant, supported by other sworn personnel. Many of the duties and work responsibilities in this division should be performed by the Director of Public Safety’s office, such as budget preparation for the Police and Fire Departments, code enforcement, information technology, and various other administrative duties. Having many of these duties handled by civilians rather than sworn personnel will lead to cost savings and great efficiency. Also, sworn personnel can then be assigned to true police duties.” – Government Strategies Audit

          “Historically, Long Branch had a Director of Public Safety from 1979 until about 2017. The Director was in charge of all of the City’s emergency services, including our police department and fire department services.  Given the recommendations  in the police audit, we believe it is in the best interest of our residents to bring this position back,” Council President Mario Vieira said.

          “We did not know when we asked for this study over a year ago that so much also would change in the world, all leading us to confirm our decision that a Public Safety Director would best suit the City. The pandemic really taught us just how critical coordination of emergency services is to a city,” Mayor Pallone stated. “The recent power outage reinforced our concerns.”

          The position has now been posted, as the City is seeking qualified candidates to apply. For more information about how to apply, go to the city website LONGBRANCH.ORG. 

          “We look forward to any ideas our new Director of Public Safety offers to the City of Long Branch. As council members, we are always looking to put the safety of our residents first,” Councilman Bill Dangler said.

          “The accountability that this position has to the public will be beneficial for the future of our city,” Councilwoman Rose Widdis said.

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The City of Long Branch is located in Monmouth County, New Jersey.  Learn more at www.longbranch.org.

GOVERNMENT STRATEGY POLICE AUDIT 

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