Safety versus savings debated in Troy

Posted at: 11/30/2012 5:51 PM
Updated at: 11/30/2012 6:27 PM
By: Abigail Bleck

TROY--Policeman are typically tight lipped.  But Friday, Troy's Police Chief of more than two years did not mince words outside police headquarters.

"My belief is it's one thing only, political retaliation by the Democratic (led) City Council against a Republican Chief who served under (former Mayor and Republican) Harry Tutunjian," explains Chief John Tedesco.

The current Mayor, a Democrat, staunchly defended the need for the new hire and when asked how the Commissioner's tasks would differ from Chief Tedesco's, the response was, "First of all they would be answering directly to me and working with the chief--sharing ideas, how we can make things better," explains Lou Rosamilia.

A Public Safety Commissioner is not unheard of in the Capital District. Schenectady hired one to handle a department riddled with problems. Former NYSP Commissioner Wayne Bennett oversees both the Police and Fire Departments and earns close to $125,000. That's just slightly more than Schenectady Police Chief Mark Chaires' salary of $124,273.

Troy's proposed Commissioner would only deal with police matters. The $30,0000 a year full time gig would make significantly less than Chief Tedesco at $127,978. But the questions remain, is this a waste of money?

"I feel the right person will bolster public safety efforts, add value and guidance," explains Rosamilia.

Still, opponents maintain that residents' hard earned cash is being squandered and crime won't go down--calling it a case of politics as usual in Troy.

"It will have no effect on Troy at all--it will affect politics," worries Councilman Mark McGrath, a Republican.

"This position is a burden to taxpayers they are bringing in a lackey to take care of the Democratic majority on the Council," adds Tedesco.

McGrath believes the Mayor and the City Council already have someone in mind for the position--former Deputy Chief Anthony Magnetto. The Mayor calls that accusation false and insists the job is open to any and all qualified candidates. The Mayor also insists a Public Safety Commissioner for Troy has been his plan since he took office, last year.