Columbus department head responds to FOP recommendations - WRBL

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Columbus department head responds to FOP recommendations

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -

The Director of Crime Prevention is speaking out after the Fraternal Order of Police listed more than 40 suggestions to Columbus City Council to save tax dollars. Seth Brown is concerned about a proposed merger of Crime and Fire Prevention programs to his office. The Fraternal Order of Police recommendation states the office of Crime Prevention would absorb the cost of any crime and fire prevention programs offered within the Columbus Consolidated Government, but Brown says the suggestion is not a cost saving measure.

"I can't see how it could save money as a whole," said Brown.

Brown was planning on presenting his opinion at the Columbus council meeting Tuesday morning but councilors needed more time to review the Fraternal Order of Police recommendations. He says transferring programs like D.A.R.E. and the G.R.E.A.T. program which focuses on Gang Awareness would require his department to spend more money.

"We would have to use retirees to run those prevention programs which the retirees would still have to be paid. The administrative side of it would have to increased which would also cost taxpayers more money," said Brown.

He suggests individually evaluating each program.

"If you get down to the dollars and cents of it, it's going to be hard to take these programs away that have an impact on children and adults as a whole," said Brown.

The mayor says the FOP suggestions do have some cost saving benefits, but she says the council needs to get a handle on those big money savers like gap time.

"The warden out at the prison, for instance, has come up with a scheduling mechanism through which it looks like he's going to be able to eliminate his gap time, so we're hoping that we can use that as a model," said Mayor Teresa Tomlinson.

The mayor says reducing gap time across the departments would save around 1.5 million dollars for the city. An increase in health care premiums is also be discussed to save tax payer dollars. Council will meet to discuss the FOP recommendations and health care at their meeting next week. At that meeting, department heads will be able to respond to some of those suggestions on the FOP's list.

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