Future of local police department up in air - WNEM TV 5

Future of local police department up in air

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
PINCONNING, MI (WNEM) -

Unanswered questions surround the future of a local police department.

They have been without a contract for more than two weeks. To make matters more difficult, the Pinconning city manager - who has to sign the contract into approval - resigned unexpectedly last month.

"We're a small community, but it's a busy town. So the sooner we can get that position filled the best it would be fore everyone," Pinconning Police Sgt. Terry Spencer said.

Spencer is a 10 year veteran of the police department. He has given a lot to his community over the years, but is now asking for some help in return.

"We have to get a new city manager here I think before the contract negotiations can continue forward. However if they didn't move forward it's my understanding that they would go to arbitration," Spencer said.

Despite the delay, the police department is still receiving a lot of support from the community on the matter.

"I'm all in favor of keeping the local patrol. I love the fact that we're augmented by the state police and the police, but the local police really have a certain aspect that keeps us tight as a community," said Paul Seeherber Sr., resident.

Even with their contract still in the air, Spencer said the department will continue to serve the community.

"We're going to continue to take calls and continue to show up for duty just like we always have. We've had a lot of support from the public and we hope that that continues. And we hope that we go through these contracts as soon as we can," Spencer said.

The city council is met on Tuesday and helped take the next step in the search for a regular city manager. At the meeting they hired Andrew Niedzinski as the interim city manager.

"I'm super excited about it. I graduate with a master's degree next month in public administration and I think this is a great opportunity to get my feet wet and get some real life experience," Niedzinski said.

He is finishing up his graduate work at Central Michigan University. He will fill the role of city manager until the full time replacement is found.

Pinconning Mayor Jason Brazeau said the position of city manager and the position of city treasurer are posted on the city's website. They will begin interviewing candidates soon.

The next big move by the city council was aimed at getting negotiations for the police contract moving forward.

The council appointed two people to represent in contract talks.

One of the biggest sticking points in negotiations is the length of the next contract.

The mayor said the city is considering a one year contract. That does not sit well with the police department's only full time employee - Spencer.

"We've always had a three year contract with the Pinconning Police Department and I would hope that we would continue to have a three year contract," Spencer said.

He said he doesn't see the point in a one year contract.

"If you had a one year contract it seems like you'd be going back into negotiations again. We've always had a three year contract and it's worked out good here," Spencer said.

Members of the city council said there's still no word on when voting for the police contract will take place.

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