A police sergeant who will become Hubbard's new chief says it will be his No. 1 priority.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
HUBBARD -- Marty Kanetsky says morale at the Hubbard Police Department is at an all-time low.
After the 52-year-old Kanetsky is sworn in at 6 p.m. Wednesday at city council chambers, his aim is to change all that.
The sergeant will become chief because he scored the highest on the civil service test, beating out Sgt. Kenneth Oyler, who has been acting chief for about year.
Kanetsky said moving his department out of the aged police station tops his list of things to do. "It will be my No. 1 priority to get out of here," Kanetsky said. "It's actually an embarrassment to the city."
Mold has been found in the building, resulting in the wet basement's being sealed and seven grievances filed by police officers, claiming health problems as a result.
In addition, an inspection has found that the building, constructed in 1870, has electrical deficiencies. Portable electric heaters being used to help warm the building make matters worse, Kanetsky said.
"I'm going to push for a new building," he stressed, noting it will be a one-time expense and an investment in the community.
Kanetsky said he will press to keep a patrol officer who may be laid off because the budget can't support his wages.
"That's a losing situation," Kanetsky said of the threatened furlough.
He explained that the contract with the Fraternal Order of Police prohibits layoffs unless the city is broke or the position is abolished.
The city can't be out of money because nonuniformed employees were granted pay raises in February, he pointed out.
Kanetsky explained that the department has an officer off duty with a long-term injury, and a patrol officer wasn't hired when a vacancy occurred.
With vacations beginning in June, Kanetsky said, the city is facing having to pay 56 hours of overtime weekly.
"Layoffs won't be a savings," he said. "It's not feasible."
The department can put only two patrol officers on the road at any one time, down from the normal three and sometimes four.
Because the city can't use any part-time employees in the department if there is a layoff, Kanetsky said, he won't be able to use four auxiliary officers. Also, the FOP has taken the position that the part-time crossing guards can't be used.
Kanetsky said there are outstanding officers on the force and he wants to make better use of their talents.
In addition to holding community meetings to explain what duties the officers perform, he wants to give them more responsibility and make a juvenile officer available during the day and afternoon turns.