The City of Binghamton and Johnson City will continue to share a police chief, at least for one more year. The issue was finally settled at Johnson City's board meeting Tuesday night after much debate. As our Elyse Mickalonis explains, Mayor Deemie says some changes will still have to be made to ensure the village, patrolmen and chiefs are happy.
JOHNSON CITY, N.Y. -- The debate is over in Johnson City as village board members have decided to stick to an agreement with the City of Binghamton to share a police chief.
“We’re going to just leave the police IMAs as they are. We’re going to leave them in place for another year. I’ve been in con with the mayor of Binghamton. We know there some issues and we’re going to work through those,” said Johnson City Mayor Greg Deemie.
Village Trustee Bruce King added, “The main goal is to keep the residents of the village safe. They’ve done that and they continue to do that. Both the patrolmen and the chiefs from Binghamton.”
Johnson City and Binghamton joined up two years ago to cut costs and increase safety. The village and city have been splitting costs to employ Chief Joseph Zikuski since May 2010 with the goal to save each municipality nearly $45,000 a year.
“I think it’s a very good thing for the village. I think it’s going to save us money on the long run with pensions and health care, which everybody knows goes up. I think the board is taking a conservative route. I think it’s good,” said Shirley Krno, Johnson City resident.
Under the agreement, the chief and assistant chief are required to split their time evenly between the Johnson City Police Department and Binghamton Police Bureau. Each municipality pays half the top chiefs’ salaries and benefits. Those who spoke up against the agreement say they hope there will be room for promotion within Johnson City police.
“If you want to stay, you want to move up in rank and if you don’t have any hope in ever being chief or assistant chief, how long are they going to stay? How committed are they going to be?” asked King.
Although the agreement is still in place, Deemie says some small changes will need to be made.
"Better communication between the village and the police departments and everybody getting to know each other a little better. Me putting a little more of a handle on it. I'm the mayor. It’s my job. We're just going to move forward,” said Deemie.
A decision not all board members were pleased with, but are willing to spend the next year working together on.