Burlington, VT– The off-duty overtime patrol contract between the Burlington Police Department and a private condominium complex violated the terms of the city’s agreement with the Burlington Police Officers’ Association, Mayor Miro Weinberger said Thursday

“I think it was a mistake to sign this contract,” Weinberger said. “But I can understand why it happened because this is an issue that hasn’t really arisen before.”

A police department lieutenant signed the contract with River Watch Condos in October, after residents raised concerns about crime and safety. Acting Police Chief Jon Murad said he knew about the off-duty contract, but he ensured it did not cost the city anything.

Weinberger said the department’s contract with River Watch is not consistent with the city’s 2018 agreement with the police union regarding “extra duty agreements for street and special events.” The mayor said off-duty overtime contracts are relatively common in Burlington, but are typically approved for patrol at city events or construction sites.

The River Watch contract is the only one of it’s kind, said Weinberger, adding that he only became aware of it last week. The contract has since lapsed, he said, and won’t be renewed.

“We’re not going to sign contracts like this going forward,” Weinberger said. “I’ve communicated that to the chief.”

Burlington City Councilor Joe Magee says the use of an off duty overtime contract to patrol a private neighborhood was shocking.

“I was appalled, quite frankly, that the union and department leadership would sign off on a contract that functionally provided a level of police service to one community that the rest of the city was not receiving,” he says.

Murad said River Watch was not patrolled on most nights and that of the more than 20,000 hours of overtime by officers last year, less than half of one percent was worked at the condominiums.

“Our goal as a police department is to make certain that we serve every single member of this community equally, and fairly, and that our services are the same, no matter where one lives or where one lives,” says Murad.

Mayor Weinberger says he thinks this contract issue has now been resolved. But both he and Acting Chief Murad brought attention to the lack of sufficient staff at the Police Department, which Murad says remains his top priority.

Murad says he “missed the notion that this was something we don’t normally do. The department, he said, will make certain “that we will not have a contract like this again.”