UPDATE: I'm told that Tedesco was called into City Hall today and told there would be no police commissioner. Though, I'm sure that was the plan yesterday, I'm told City Hall will be putting out a statement today saying it's not going to happen.
Those same sources tell me it will
be Tony Magnetto, the longtime, well-respected Troy cop who retired shortly
after then-Mayor Harry Tutunjian picked Police Chief John Tedesco to head up
the department in 2010 instead of Magnetto or Deputy Chief Buddy McAvoy. At the
time it came down to the three men and Tutunjian went with Tedesco, McAvoy became
the number two guy and Magnetto number three.
According to my sources, there is talk of adding
$30,000 to the Police Department budget to hire a part time
police commissioner. It’s unclear if it will be a line item transfer in this
year’s spending plan or will be included in the one being formulated right now
for next year’s.
Safe to say, it really hasn’t been
smooth sailing. The powerful Police Benevolent Association, headed up by Bob
Fitzgerald, was not behind Tedesco from the get go and Tedesco did little to
foster that relationship by trying to shake up the department. He took officers
out of the schools fulltime, who were there even in the summer, broke up the
Special Operations Section, long considered to be a place where officers can go
into semi-retirement and pad their pensions, and shook up the Emergency
Response Team, who he thought could be more efficient. He also cut overtime
across the board, something near and dear to the PBA heart, and brought a no
nonsense management style to the TPD where the union has ruled the roost for
The anti-Tedesco forces – including many on
the Council loyal to the PBA, in particular Councilwoman Nina Nichols, who
heads up the Public Safety Committee – get practically a boost a day given the
number of shootings this year and, of course, most recently, some nut-job running
around the city burning up buildings.
Thing is, I don’t know if that’s Tedesco’s
fault or not. Of course, there was crime under Tutunjian, but Tutunjian let the
chief run the department and it wasn’t like it is today. A shooting is one
thing and they happen in every city in the country, setting blocks of the city
on fire is just crazy. A fight once in a while is one thing, the massive brawl
that occurred on Sixth Avenue Monday night is another. It’s getting out of
control and that’s the bottom line.
However, bringing in a police
commissioner on a part time basis just to undermine the chief because he
ruffled some feathers in the union certainly won’t go very far to solve the
problem. When you have the Indians trying to be chief, and you have politicians
catering to those Indians, the city burns. And in this case … literally.
It comes down the contract too. I’m
hearing the PBA is close to an agreement which includes a 2 percent raise last
year – the PBA has been without one since the end of 2010 – no raise this year
and some other perks including more vacation time and other time off. Tedesco,
who has been negotiating contracts for decades, wasn’t invited to the table.
This is where policy things could be negotiated, like the inane seniority clause, so you would think the chief would be invited. Instead it was just Deputy Mayor Peter Ryan and Fitzgerald playing cards. I like
both guys, but if I had to bet on which one would win a poker game, my money is
on Fitzgerald every day.
Labels: fitzgerald, Magnetto, McAvoy, nichols, ryan, Tedesco, Tutunjian