A new local law in Plattsburgh should help the police department re-fill its depleted ranks of qualified front-line leaders. The Common Council approved a codified pay and benefits scale.
Benefits for Plattsburgh Police lieutenants, and those ranked above them, are now set at the same level as sergeants. A lieutenant will earn at least $7,000 more per year than a sergeant. A captain will take home at least $10,000 more than a sergeant does, while the Lake City’s police chief will earn at least $20,000 more.
During Thursday night’s Common Council meeting, Mayor Chris Rosenquest said that department has two lieutenant positions in its budget this year. However, both are vacant.
“It’s come up multiple times before that we don’t have any lieutenants, and anyone between Captain Kiroy and the rank-and-file sergeants,” Councilor Patrick McFarlin said. He also noted that a broad-ranging compensation package for all management-level city jobs has been brought to the Common Council every year that he’s been on it.
“It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to entice somebody to leave the protection of the union without concrete and known benefits and a salary scale,” Plattsburgh Police Capt. Brad Kiroy said. He added that the city already has ample evidence of this.
“It’s shown in the last few years, with our inability to attract people to be interested in these lieutenant’s positions,” Capt. Kiroy said. “This law, I believe, rectifies that.”
During his 14 years leading the department, retired chief Desmond Racicot said he often ran headlong into that same lack of interest in management positions. “It was very difficult, working with the membership, trying to get qualified people to go into it — great personnel that want to move up and have long, prosperous careers,” he said.
Chief Levi Ritter is still employed as Plattsburgh’s top cop, but he’s been away on administrative leave since late last year. City officials have not spoken publicly about his leave — not even to say if the chief is on leave with pay or without it.