To the Editor,
Due to the city’s budgetary shortfall, it appears that Wayzata City Manager, Al Orsen, is going to recommend to the Wayzata City Council this Tuesday night to eliminate our newest police officer, Bill Matthews.
I believe that this decision would be an irresponsible choice to ensure public safety and short-sighted at best when an officer would undoubtedly be re-hired soon and the expensive process of recruiting and re-training would start all over.
Here are a few of the current cost savings items it is important to be aware of:
1. Our police officers recently agreed to a reduced increase in pay with the promise that this would insure that all officers jobs would be retained. This appears to be a breach of contract.
2. The school district pays for 42% of one of our officers as the West Middle School police liaison.
3. The recently vacated position of one of our CSO’s (Community Service Officer) will not be filled at the present time.
4. Officer Matthews has offered to reduce his hours and even forgo his health insurance.
5. Lt. Murphy continues to volunteer many overtime hours.
Police and Fire Departments are 24/7 jobs. We cannot put our community in jeopardy by reducing our public service officers. I feel certain that the City Council puts public safety very near the top of their list.
My hope is that a better solution is possible, perhaps a short term loan from the unallocated emergency funds, until the Bay Center project begins.
Please get involved and urge your friends and neighbors to attend the City Council meeting this Tuesday, May 5th, at 7pm to let our Council Members realize that their decision not only affects the livelihood of an officer, but the safety and well being of our town. Council Member’s emails & phone numbers are available on the city website if you would like to make a personal contact: (wayzata.org).
Thank you very much for your efforts and interest.
Lynda Stahl, President
Wayzata Crime Prevention Coalition