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New Ipswich

Police ask for seventh full-timer, and $41K more

NEW IPSWICH — Police are proposing to use a salary which has been paid out for the last year to former Police Chief Garrett Chamberlain to increase the department by one full-time position. Plus, the police budget is proposed to increase this year from $808,999 to $850,228, a $41,299 increase.

Over half of the budget proposed for the coming year is attributed to salaries. Currently, the Police Department has six full-time officers and two part-time officers, which is fully staffed for the department.

In 2012, while the town was in the midst of discussing regionalizing the Police Department, the town agreed to buyout Chamberlain’s contract for $175,192, or 18 months of salary, which has been paid in weekly installments that will end in June. Chamberlain has been listed on the payroll as an officer or consultant, but has not been a physical presence in the department since October. In June, the last payment is scheduled to be made, and the police department hopes to be able to use the newly-freed funds to pay the salary of a new officer for the department, bringing their full-time staff up to seven.

In previous interviews, Lt. Sean Cavanaugh has said it is the intention of the department to hire an uncertified officer to train. When the department rebuilt itself from the ground up last year, after personnel was down to solely the Police Chief Tim Carpenter and two part-time officers at its lowest point, several certified officers with multiple years of experience were recruited from police departments in the surrounding area. Recruiting an uncertified officer will give the department an entry-level person who will be able to move through the ranks in the coming years, and build a sustainable force, according to Cavanaugh. The new officer would not be hired until after June, when the last payment of Chamberlain’s buyout is completed.

Most of the proposed $41,299 increase is attributed to the salary line. This year, the Select Board agreed to budget a 3-percent merit increase for all town employees, beginning in June. Though not all employees will receive the full raise, and increases will only impact the budget for half the year, the budget reflects a full year’s payout of the salary increases, for the purpose of determining next year’s default budget, Select Board member Mike Conlin told residents during a budget hearing Jan. 20.

The deliberative session for the town of New Ipswich will be held Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. at Mascenic Regional High School.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.

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