Watchdog: Antioch Police test new vehicles, update on police staffing, questions city budget transparency

Watchdog-LogoBy Barbara Zivica

Seen any unfamiliar police cars driving around recently? Although the city was recently able to purchase a number of Crown Victoria vehicles, unfortunately that particular vehicle has been discontinued The police department is currently testing three makes of vehicles in order to see which one they favor. The vehicles are a Chevy Caprice, a Chevy Tahoe and a Ford Explorer. The vehicles will be evaluated for officer safety, functional operation, maintenance and repair issues. Other vehicles will be considered if necessary.

Speaking of the police department, the April monthly report from the City Manager stated the department is currently staffed with 88 full-time sworn employees, five of which are in various stages of the field training program. Eight sworn officers have medical conditions preventing them from reporting for full duty, three police trainees are currently attending the 177th Police Academy at the CCC Training Center in Pittsburg and will graduate in July, leaving the department with 11 remaining police officer vacancies. One lateral police officer who successfully completed the background process is being sworn in this month bringing the sworn staff to 89. Another lateral police office is in the initial stages of the background process and one entry level applicant has passed his background and will enter the Police Academy in May. (APD is currently authorized for 102 full-time, sworn positions.) Dispatch is fully staffed.

The city is projecting that in fiscal year 2014-15 projected expenditures, based upon staffing for 102 sworn, are under the total allocated spending threshold for the police department, excluding the $1.8 million to buy and install equipment allowing the city to join the East Bay Regional Communications System Authority. That will allow Antioch police to communicate directly. with other jurisdictions. The city, however, is projecting deficits in FY16 and FY17.

Note that while the city was touting the need for Measure C and Measure O the current $1,608,041 over budget savings comes from vacancies. Earlier this month the state Department of Finance released an audit showing agencies padded their budgets by keeping vacant jobs on their books while holding on to the money allocated for those positions, concluding that the result was a lack of budget transparency and accountability.

5 Comments to “Watchdog: Antioch Police test new vehicles, update on police staffing, questions city budget transparency”

  1. Eric A says:

    I’ve seen the Tahoe Police Car/Truck around the Wal-Mart area. A Police vehicle that size seems like a gas hog.

  2. Rich says:

    The APD staffing is basically the same as it was pre-Measure C and certainly less that previous to that. The staffing for the city has all ready shown an increase of several persons and at least one incumbent. Seems like they are talking out of the side of their mouths. Yes, I am questioning the sincerity of the information and statements from the budget meeting.

    I would like to know how much overtime we spent for 2014 for the APD and how much to date for the APD. In addition, how much has it costs, to date and also for 2014 to “host” all these other agencies. Last year was the 150 for a week, plus innumerable single and weekly proactive efforts – same with this year.

    They may be talking about making some significant changes, but if 74% of the general fund is for police services, THAT is the area that needs to be addressed because that’s where the expenditures are! If it means animal services goes back to the county, so be it. But it sounded like a rather large laundry list of additional expenses that need to be scrutinized; body cameras, radio system upgrade and new radios, etc. etc.

    I guess I want to be positive, but they have proven thus far that they can not be trusted and are not transparent. Being a Charter City, that would help in that aspect.

    The information I got out of the budget meeting was pretty straight forward – 74% of the General Fund expenditures is related to police services. If 74% of my personal budget is related to one thing, you better believe that one thing is going to be scrutinized to the nth degree. That doesn’t appear to be what is happening with the first of several budget meetings – sincerity at this point is very questionable.

  3. Rich says:

    With regards to the police staffing; the City Managers weekly report (04/03/2015) lists 11 pending housing projects. 10 of the 11 projects represent an increase in population of almost 11,000. based on our current staffing and officers to 1,000 residents, we would need an additional 13 sworn officers to support the addition of that size population increase (not including the unspecified 11th project). Currently, we have 88 sworn officers, in fact the average sworn officers since October, 2010 is exactly 86.96 (lets round to 87). However, boots on the street averaged 11.11 less since that same date. Meaning 76 sworn officers available for patrolling and performing full duty at any given time. Ironically, those averages are basically what we are close to what we are currently experiencing; 88 sworn officers and 8 injured. The point being, if the city is padding the budget ot make it look good by showing a surplus by not hiring, they have shot themselves in the foot (pardon the expression). So, if the city got to where they were supposed to have been years ago with 102, that would cover the additional population, however, that has not happened in the last 5 years, what is miraculously going to happen to to increase the sworn staffing to 102 PLUS the 11 (to compensate for the injured)? The total needed would be a minimum of 113 plus project number 11’s unknown amount. I have heard every excuse so far as to why this city is unable to get to 102 (the number Harper promised to get to, in fact it was higher then). Either this is a major smoke and mirrors scam going on or there is not a snowballs chance in meeting those numbers, much less within the next year.
    My vote goes to smoke and mirrors. If indeed what they are saying is correct and they will start deficit spending NEXT YEAR, this incompetency needs to stop now, the entire city council and City Manager needs to be replaced.

  4. Marty Fernandez says:

    After attending all but two city council meetings in 12 years I am more than familiar with the smoke and mirrors of the councils. The only time we had honesty was prior to Jim Davis. Harper has continued the Jim Davis style of managing and that results in doing nothing but talk talk talk. I no longer attend council meetings and if I wasn’t so old I’d get the hell out of town. There is another council watcher who has been watching for more than 20 years and Wednesday he signs the papers for his house in Rossmore. At 85 he can no longer stand the dishonesty in Antioch.

    Pay attention to unfunded liabilities. Ms Merchant is saying it is pension liabilities. There is about the same amount in unfunded benefits, medical, dental etc.

    There are so many things that need to be looked at and we need different people looking at them BUSINESS people. People who know how to run a business because that is what a city is.

    • Rich says:

      You are absolutely correct. One of my goals has been to draw attention to the council and attempt to get the citizens of Antioch involved in what is happening with their money, their people, their city. I posted another FB warning just a few minutes ago regarding the water/sewer ordinances, police services etc. – all on the agenda for 04/28/2015 (last ion the agenda I might add) 🙁

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