Tonawanda News —
CSEA, the union represe
nting the dispatchers, said an ongoing dispute with the city over the dispatch transfer continues to be rooted in what they call an unfair shift in seniority and will likely lead to arbitration, a point Ortt did not contest in a recent interview.
And the North Tonawanda Police Benevolent Association, which requested four additional officers to fill the void left by the dispatchers in manning the front desk and performing certain duties integral to the inner-workings of the department, said it still does not have an answer as to how to address a lack of manpower.
“There is a plan, I’ve already met with the chief, but I’m not going to get into specifics at this time because nothing is finalized,” Ortt said. “Suffice it to say whatever plan we come up with it’s not going to be hiring four new officers.”
But even as the city moves to tie up loose ends, it also seeks to ease any concerns that may come up in the community. Szukala said there will be some changes, though they will have little effect on city residents or the officers under his charge.
“If residents call our business line, where we get most of our calls, they are going to have a teleprompter system from the county, where they would have previously heard a North Tonawanda police officer greeting them,” Szukala said.
Ortt, for his part, is not unsympathetic toward the police or the dispatchers, though he said that his job as mayor is to do what’s best for the city’s bottom line.
“There was a lot of effort put into not only just moving it but doing it the right way,” he said. “We were trying to make sure all the dispatchers have jobs, trying to make sure they’re all happy, but at the end of the day it was about making sure it was the right thing for the taxpayers. This is streamlining government and this is going to save money for the City of North Tonawanda.”Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext 4115.