Kate Warren writes, “The Consolidation Commission would have us believe that two-thirds of the savings from the proposed consolidation will come from a phased-in 20% reduction in police protection that will happen in an orderly fashion by simple attrition. Opponents of consolidation question the credibility of that claim and apparently so does Councilman Roger Martindell.
In a May 11, 2011 letter to the Commission Chair (copied to Mayor and Council), Councilman Martindell wrote in part: ‘With a new governing body not experienced in management of a consolidation municipality, it will not likely have the political will to resist police administrators who will most likely try to fill vacancies created by attrition.’
He goes on to state, ‘The Report assumes that there will be an evolutionary change in any consolidated police department that will result, ultimately, in a reduction in force from 60 to 51 sworn officers by year 3. Apparently, the Commission concludes that the command structure will change in year 1, year 2, and year 3. However, based on my experience in local government, changes in command structure will be a constant source of tension
within the department, with the stakeholders resisting change and engaging in intra-departmental political maneuvering. The result will be a department that is less likely to ‘evolve’ in any thoughtful way over the near term and therefore less likely to achieve the
savings anticipated by the Report.’
He closes his letter by stating: ‘If the total savings projected by consolidation is as paltry as the Report projects – and those savings themselves are by no means certain – the very legitimate question arises: unless there are more substantial efficiencies contemplated by consolidation, why bother?‘
Research conducted by Preserve Our Historic Borough (POHB) uncovered empirical research done in March 2009 on behalf of the State that cautions against ‘…drawing simple conclusions about the cost-effectiveness to be gain through consolidation.” A May
2009 report found “…a considerable body of literature that does not support consolidation…cost savings are not assured [and] implementation of consolidation is costly and time consuming…’ The study found ‘…no clear answers about whether consolidation works.’ “