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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 19, 2010

Courcelle joines the GPD ranks

By Anne Hayden

GUILDERLAND — The town board appointed a new Guilderland police officer on Tuesday night.

Eric Courcelle, a Guilderland resident and Police Academy graduate, will fill a space left vacant by Sergeant Glenn Stevens’s retirement. A patrol officer was promoted to sergeant after Stevens left, and Courcelle will fill that role.

Supervisor Kenneth Runion said Stevens retired in the late spring, but was still getting paid for his vacation and accrual time.

“We don’t hire anyone new until that is paid off,” said Runion. He said the department also wanted to wait until the Police Academy finished so it could hire someone from the graduating class.

According to Runion, the police department, with 34 employees, has an annual budget of nearly $3.5 million, with a $227,000 budget for police overtime. The department paid five of its officers over $100,000 in 2010; the police chief’s salary was $89,961. Other salaries ranged from $61,207 to $119,599.

A contract between the town and the Police Benevolent Association determines a base starting salary; it is currently set at $44,702. The first five years, salary is increased on a step system; after the fifth year, salary is increased based on cost-of-living increases.

When a patrol officer is promoted to sergeant, there is a salary increase of $2,000 above the top step, and an additional $2,000 stipend for the next four years. Other promotions, from sergeant to lieutenant, include a $2,000 increase to the current level of pay.

There are some wide discrepancies among patrol officer salaries, which Runion said is due to overtime. Although the town has made efforts to cut down on overtime hours, some overtime can’t be avoided, he said.

“Overtime is equalized, but some officers don’t want overtime, and others are willing to take on quite a bit,” Runion said. An officer who doesn’t work much overtime could have a salary of $75,000, while an officer with similar experience who works a lot of overtime might have a salary of over $100,000.

Runion explained that there is also something called “vendor overtime,” when an outside venue wants to hire an officer for an event. The vendor reimburses the town for that time. Vendor overtime adds up to roughly $62,000 annually.

“Cutting down on overtime is an ongoing thing. We have an overtime budget and we try to stay below it,” Runion said. So far this year, the department has used less than 50 percent of its annual overtime budget, he said.

Other business:

In other business, the town board voted unanimously on Aug. 17 to:

— Set a public hearing for Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m. on amendments to the zoning law as recommended by the Zoning Revision Committee;

— Adopt an amendment to the inter-municipal stormwater coalition agreement;

— Enter into a confidentiality and no-disclosure agreement in regard to building construction plans for New York Independent System Operator, Inc.;

— Award a bid for a positive displacement pump, and also for two-year sludge disposal, as recommended by the Department of Water and Wastewater Management;

— Authorize the Department of Water and Wastewater Management to go out to bid for the rehabilitation of a well;

— Authorize the building department to waive demolition fees for a residence destroyed by fire at 2729 Curry Road; and,

— Schedule workshop meetings for the 2011 town budget.

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