Yesterday, Mayor Michael Villa submitted one line-item veto to a $20,000 cut in the Amsterdam Police Department’s vacation buyout line made to the proposed 2017-2018 budget by the Common Council earlier this month. In a statement released yesterday, Villa asked the council to re-instate $15,000 of the cut.
The purpose of the budget line is to pay police officers for unused vacation time in the year that the time was earned. As officers’ rate of pay usually increases over time due to negotiated raises, it costs the city more money to pay on time if it’s accrued over several years.
Villa wrote in his statement, “As responsible leaders, we must curtail the growth of accumulated time. I see this as a critical item if left ungoverned. I’m sure you are aware that any time earned in the present that is allowed to be carried over costs taxpayers more money when these earnings are paid out at a future date. Reducing these costs now will benefit the city as we move forward.”
Reached for comment yesterday, Villa also said it is his future goal to negotiate caps on not only vacation time buyouts, but also on comp time and holiday time buyouts.
Alderman Chad Majewski and Jim Martuscello called yesterday for a special meeting to be held on May 23 at 5pm to pass a modified budget resolution which removes the cut. Majewski said the city’s contingency line would most likely be reduced in order to fund the line.
Majewski said, “I’m OK with this and support the veto. We only cut the line because it wasn’t touched in this year’s budget, but the mayor sent a directive to [Police Chief Greg Culick] to make sure it is used this and next year. Its a good thing as in the long run it prevent us from paying large sums out at once.”