Topsham selectmen OK police radar units, job consolidation

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TOPSHAM — The Board of Selectmen on July 16 unanimously supported the purchase of police radar units, and combining two part-time positions into one full-time role.

The Police Department plans to buy seven radar units to replace aging devices. The department will spend $18,000 from capital funds to purchase the first six, and will be reimbursed $7,500 from a state highway safety equipment grant, Police Chief Chris Lewis said July 15.

The reimbursed funds will be used to buy the seventh unit, and fund installation of all seven.

Meanwhile, the Police Department plans to merge its animal control officer and assistant ACO positions, both currently part-time, into one full-time job. Funds will also be used from an overtime account to pay for the position, which will also cover fleet maintenance and traffic safety, according to Town Manager Rich Roedner.

The ACO will work days, Monday through Friday, and can serve as backup when a police officer is on vacation on a day shift, Roedner explained, without necessitating overtime costs.

Roland Pinette, who recently retired as ACO, worked 30 hours a week at $17.19 an hour, and received benefits, Lewis said. Paul Saindon, who served as assistant ACO and handled fleet maintenance before his recent death, worked as needed and earned $15.50 an hour for the first role and $12.93 an hour for the latter.

The person who will fill the new full-time role will be chosen from within department ranks, and earn $22.53 an hour, according to Lewis. Shifting an existing officer into that position will open another job in the department, at a lower salary level, the chief explained.

Savings will also come from a reduction in overtime costs, he added.

“If we can take those separate part-time entities – and one of them already has a benefits package built into the budget – and then throw in traffic safety on top of that … by utilizing the offsetting costs between savings in overtime, and the personnel costs, and rolling it all into one position, then that position can take care of a lot of different aspects,” Lewis said.

The chief said he hopes to have the ACO role filled as soon as possible.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.