By Teresa Gebhardt
Lansing Star staff writer
The Lansing administrators plan to consolidate the north and south Lansing Police departments prompted a heated discussion at the August 8th City Council meeting.
The mayor of Lansing Virg Bernero is considering moving South Precinct employees, who work at 3400 S. Cedar St., into the north precinct office at 740 May St., by the end of September.
Some say the Flood that took over Lansing a week ago could be the reason, the government is choosing to merge these two precincts “I was one of the 10 businesses owners that lost my businesses due to flood damage and I think this consolidation is ridiculous instead of providing for our city, they are taking jobs away during the worst time” said Annette Stokes owner of The Caring Institute for Young woman.
President A’ Lynne Robinson along with the other members of the council are concerned that this idea only became seeming after all of the flood damages.
Randy Hannan, the mayor’s representative reassures everyone that this has been a proposition even before the repercussions of the weather.
“The decision to move personnel from the South precinct over to the North one was done and underway for sometime as you know it was under discussion during the budget process” said Hannan.
Council member Brian Jeffries said he was bewildered that this proposal was even being considered because the earlier proposal did not survive this past spring’s budget process.
“Lets point out that if previous administrations and you as a long time council member managed to accomplish the consolidation of those precincts, we would not be rehashing this episode; we are accomplishing that, whether you want to engage in credit claiming and such and so forth, you’re free to do that, that’s your prerogative.” Said Hannan.
Council President A’ Lynne Robinson, who was present during the making of the new budget for 2011-2012 believes that Hannan and the mayor should not be surprised that people are retorting with this plan to consolidate.
“Lets not distort that piece, if there was a decision made because of subsequent incidents or uncontrollable acts of God as far as flooding then I could almost summit some of this discussion,” said Robinson.” But lets not distort what the discussion was during budget, because this, you had coming because the comments were made and the suggestions were made so in all fairness lets not distort this because it was discussed from a very real standpoint”
The City Council approved part of the Lansing Police department’s Budget of $150,000 to be put towards a study done for consolidation. Council member Eric Hewitt believes we will not see any benefit from this merger until 2020- 2030, based on the lack of planning this proposal seems to illustrate.
“I assume because you are going forward with this consolidation, that the study is done and if it is why has it not been ready for the councils review”
The study is currently not completed and Hannan said he needs to check with the director of Lansing’s Finance department, Jerry Ambrose to verify its status.
“Without having that consolidation study done and presented for us it seems the administration is taking steps one into steps multiples to consolidate and I’m taken aback that I have not heard anything that says this study proves that this is the direction we should be going in” said Hewitt.
Hannan notes that the staffing reduction in the Lansing Police Department is a factor in the administration’s ability, from the management stand point, to put everyone under one roof.
The options for consolidation currently include:
- Consolidating both precincts into the city owned property of the S. Washington office complex also known as the armory.
- Constructing a new facility to house the operations in one place.
“You’re saying it’s going to cost us money to consolidate from the South precinct to the north precinct. If this is correct, isn’t there going to be an additional cost to move the north precinct and south precinct under one roof? Why are we incurring multiple additional costs if were not going to see any savings until significant out years”? Said Hewitt.
That would be the concern of most Lansing Michigan tax payers as to if their money is not going to waste and their efforts are being paid off.
“I think it would be best to take up the detailed examination of those questions in the proper context in a ways of means meeting, as a committee as a whole so we can have Mr. Ambrose available to speak about the short and long-range objectives” said Hannan.
Council President A’ Lynne Robinson referred the item to next week’s committee of the whole, telling Hannan to “please be prepared and have that information to us.”