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Opinion

It is the duty of your elected commissioners to keep the public aware of any facts affecting their safety and welfare. Therefore, here is some information worthy of contemplation with respect to the public welfare. The public is entitled to this data under the Freedom of Information Law.

Form W-2, Box 1, gross earnings for the 36 patrol officers in 1999 ranged from $66,189 to $97,684. The median patrol officer (PO) earned $87,240 and the average PO earnings were $86,245.

The five detectives earned $91,187 to $98,215.

The seven sergeants earned $101,732 to $143,995.

The six lieutenants earned $112,076 to $122,150.

The two captains earned $117,639 and $123,431.

Our chief of police, who is also the chief administrative officer, earned in 1999 less than one of the sergeants, less than one of the captains, and only $1,281 (1.05 percent) more than the highest paid lieutenant.

The chief's earnings were overshadowed by two lower-ranking officers in 1997 and by four lower-ranking officers in 1998.

The 12 commissioners overseeing the garbage, police, sewer and water districts control budget expenses which add up to 54 percent of your total county and town general tax bill. It is very important to every property-owning, tax paying resident to make sure that they elect the properly motivated and technically qualified individuals to these commissionerships.

This dream has a better chance of being fulfilled if the polls are open all day, from 6 a.m. to 9 or 10 p.m.

When the polls are open from only 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., especially with the elections being held at the most unknown, most remote and hardest to find location in the community, the electorate are limited to the nimble natives who are able to grope their way there in the December darkness.

Robert Persons


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