South Palm Beach: Police officers opt for union

By Tim O’Meilia

South Palm Beach police officers are following the lead of those in neighboring Manalapan and will join the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association.

The town’s five rank-and-file officers voted unanimously last month to have the PBA as their collective bargaining unit, the first union in the town’s 52-year

Mayor Martin Millar, a retired police officer and firefighter, said he expects the first thing the union will ask for is more officers, something the mayor said he will support.

The Town Council last month reduced the force from 10 to eight in the budget year that began Oct. 1. One slot has been unfilled for about a year and an officer was fired last month. The police chief, captain and lieutenant are not included in the union.

Millar was the only council member to oppose the budget, partly because of the police cuts and partly because he wanted a smaller budget to reduce taxes.

Millar questioned Police Chief Roger Crane about the diminished force. “It would be nice to have the extra officers to have the nights covered by two officers,” the chief said.

He juggles the schedule, using the police captain and lieutenant to make sure two are on duty until midnight. “So far it’s been working out,” he said.

“We have as much protection and backup as we need but if you want to add a ninth guy, I’ll take him,” Crane said.

It’s likely the town will hire a labor attorney to deal with any proposals made by the union.

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Comment by Isabella Ralston-Charnley on October 1, 2010 at 1:20pm
When Council Members Stella Jordan and Susan Lillybeck ran for office last year they promised that they would not touch the police - that they would cut other things - among their statement s were that our Police "were stars". Well apparently their Star has faded.

Wake up South Palm Beach! Our Council went on a 3 day junket August 19- 22, 2010 to the Westin Hotel in Hollywood FL- cost to Town tax payers over $5,000!!

Hotel Rooms -$2,682
Registration for 5 Council and Town Manager $1,950
Registration for SPOUSE' S $300
These cost to not include food and travel expenses

At the August 2010, Town Hall Meeting I confronted the Council and Town Manager on this outrageous expense -their answers were "it was a great learning experience" - It's a disgrace how our tax money is spent. If they want to educate themselves - they should pay for it themselves.

At the September 2010, Town Hall Meeting Ms. Lillybeck stated that she had now paid for her husbands expense - only problem with this is that she knew what cost were going to be well before they left and was pleased to accept the cost to the Town - Only reason she paid was because I confronted them - not good enough Ms. Lillybeck!

Last year our Town Manager managed our $3.3 mil plus budget, at the total expense to the town of $161,500
This year because our fire expenses are paid directly to the County he only has approximately $2.2 mil to manager at the total expense $161,500. Yes folks $161,000 to run a Town of 5/8th mile long. He is even receiving a $5,100 travel expense even if he does not travel. I asked at the September Town Hall Meeting what ever had happened to mileage, where an employee was only paid for miles traveled - NO answer.

Most to the salaries in this Town, my Town, are excessive compared to the responsibilities the employees have -we need to cut adminstrative salaries and KEEP OUR POLICE

Isabella Ralston-Charnley
South Palm Beach Resident

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