New Richmond suspends furlough program

The New Richmond Village Council has suspended the police department’s furlough program.

The council unanimously adopted the ordinance suspending the furlough schedule for the police department at its regular Nov. 14 meeting.

“At this point in time the furlough program isn’t needed anymore,” said Village Administrator David Kennedy. “We passed an ordinance adopting the furlough earlier in the year, so tonight council adopted an ordinance suspending it.”

In an effort to economize, council had adopted that ordinance in the spring of this year which implemented the furlough program; this action was deemed necessary at the time because the New Richmond police force had exceeded its annual $400,000 budget.

In April, Mayor Terry Durrette said that the department had to operate within the confines of that budget and that the department was then $45,000 in the red.

The furlough system, which was deemed only as a temporary solution, required police officers to work four weeks in a row, and then take off a week.

One reason that the furlough program has now been suspended is because of the Oct. 31 retirement of Police Chief Karl Hassebrock, which has eased budgetary restraints.

“When we lost our police chief at the end of last month, we had the hours and money open up for full-time police officers to work,” said Kennedy. “What happens after the village hires another police chief will be addressed at the appropriate time.”

The village has received and is currently reviewing a total of 26 applications for the position of police chief.

The screening, interviewing, and hiring process is continuing and the goal is to hire a new police chief by the first of 2007, Kennedy said.

The suspension of the furlough program, which the four New Richmond police officers on staff were very pleased about (three of which were in attendance), became effective Nov. 4.

In other business, Mayor Durrette awarded police officers Chad Popham and Edward Pangallo with merit and recognition certificates.

“We had an event that happened over Halloween that was well publicized and well received by the residents of New Richmond,” the mayor said. “These two gentleman, in addition to their regular patrol duties, handed out candy to children. Council would like to thank them for the service to the town and the positive contributions that they have made to the police department’s image.”