So we approved lots of spending in the capital budget, 6 million for Loring and more DPW vehicles than most communities even have. The one that I opposed the most was a vacuum cleaner mounted on a 10 wheeler. They say it's past it's useful life, with some corrosion on the tank. I say, it's not justified.
The schools need computers is without question, but they better get the level 3 schools up to par or next year someone will have to answer to many at Town Meeting.
Next Tuesday, we scrutinize the operating budget, Art 15. While some tend to believe we have sacred cows, like Public Safety, I plan to ask the FFD to produce the answers to my questions of sick time, FMLA, personal days and military time off. I asked the FFD the questions in early April at a Ways and Means meeting with the FFD. They of coarse said they would get me the numbers, but just like the past 2 years, they've chosen not to comply. With a budget of over 1 million dollars in overtime, one might expect lots of fires, natural disasters and even terrorism in Framingham, but thats just not the case. Correlating sick time to overtime is what I need to reveal to Town Meeting as I believe sick time is being abused, which causes an increase in overtime.
I plan to stand against the purchase of 30 tazers at a cost of 54,000.00. I will make the case that tazers are not non lethal and in deed have been the cause of 635 deaths in this country. There have been numerous law suits, wrongful death and excessive force settlements and Tazer now has re-branded itself and is toting tazers are less lethal. All of this matters to the Town's tax payers as we will see shortly when the court will rule in favor of the Stamps family and award then a much larger settlement than anyone would have thought. I will present factual information to TM. Like the fact that Boston does not uses tazers, tazers are banned in many countries around the world and some states like NJ have stopped using them. The bottom line for TM will be... do we roll the dice and hope no one dies or is seriously injured and sues the Town after being tazed?
On a related subject, last year I asked the Chief if the Towns police department tazers officers in training and he said yes. I was prepared to make hey over that, but the Chief in his wisdom has indicated to me that they have stopped doing that. I'm impressed with his forward thinking.
The other component to the Police budget is the amount of sick time and how it relates to the over 1 million dollars in OT. I give the Chief a lot of credit for his transparency in answering my questions about sick time. And I believe he understands how it looks when his department takes off 1055 days last year. All of this while almost 40 officers make over 100,000 bucks a year. While we heard for the past few years, if they hired more cops, OT would go down, because they could back fill the absentees. That has not happened and in fact, crime has dropped again in this town, as in the country and the need to hire more cops is just not justified any longer.