No part-timers

Bellevue Council will shelve a proposal to hire part-time officers to help reduce police department overtime costs, at least for now.

New safety committee chair Kathy Coder said at Tuesday's pre-council meeting that she had requested detailed information on the cost of hiring part-time officers rather than additional full-time officers. Due in large part to the fact that Bellevue's contract with the police union mandates that part-time officers be paid 70 percent of a full-time officer's salary -- which means part-timers must be paid $25 an hour - plus the training and equipment cost, Coder said that part-time officers would end up costing the borough more than a full-time officer. Other departments are able to pay part-timers significantly less, she said.

“We all agree it doesn't make any sense,” Coder said. Council member Linda Woshner, participating in the meeting by phone, said that council should not be relying solely on information provided by the police union, but instead should obtain information from other municipalities. Council president Lynn Tennant Heffley said that outside data had been obtained and considered.

Council member Henry Lenard said that the borough should focus, instead, on hiring another full-time officer, a process that the borough's civil service commission was authorized to undertake earlier this year.