SALEM -Salem will have a full-time officer back on the Columbiana County Drug Task Force as soon as the police union signs off on the special assignment sergeant's position, Mayor John Berlin said.
Berlin announced to city council Tuesday that he's prepared to fill the position, noting later that he looked over the finances with city Auditor Betty Brothers and "it looks like we have the cash flow to do it."
Now he just needs to get some final paperwork in place, including the go-ahead from the Fraternal Order of Police since the special assignment sergeant position created earlier this year isn't outlined in the union contract approved last year.
The plan is to move the current sergeant who is assigned part-time to the DTF and part-time as a shift supervisor to full-time on the DTF as a special assignment sergeant. At the same time, his current position as sergeant will open up, allowing for the promotion of a patrolman to sergeant and then the hiring of a new patrolman for the open patrolman's position.
Patrolman Brent Slider scored the highest on the recent promotion eligibility test for sergeant, so he'll be the officer promoted to sergeant as a shift supervisor. When asked previously when he would be promoted and the DTF-assigned officer would move to full-time, Berlin said he wanted to see if the income tax receipts were staying strong before making the move.
Berlin explained Tuesday that he and Brothers had planned to wait until the end of October to see how the tax receipts looked, but with the numbers in the September tax report, he said she saw no reason to wait.
During the council meeting, city Treasurer Bob Tullis reported that the income tax receipts as of Sept. 28 showed an increase from last year's totals through September, with an additional $135,605, or an increase of 4.23 percent over last year.
Berlin said the city's going after the drug dealers and he's hoping other communities follow Salem's lead to have a full-time officer on the DTF. The city also has a full-time sergeant assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The mayor spoke with police Chief Bob Floor about the moves and said "he's very happy that it's happening while he's chief."
Floor announced earlier this year that he's retiring in February. A civil service test for chief candidates is set for Dec. 11, which will start another round of promotion moves.
In other business, council approved three ordinances authorizing the mayor to contract for services related to the Fiscal Year 2012 Community Housing Improvement Program. The mayor announced two weeks ago the city received a $500,000 CHIP grant for the activities which include housing counseling, down payment assistance and tenant-based rental assistance. The city contracts with Bleckman & Associates to provide the services through the grant each year.
First readings were also held on ordinances to vacate a portion of Butcher Road and to vacate a parcel of land from Oak Street to the East State Street sewage pumping station, with both to be returned to the owners who had provided the land to the city, Dolansky-Zilavy Land Development Inc.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org