Bowling claims decision was motivated by ‘personal vendetta’ –
By Patricia Beech –
In a move to free up budgetary funds, the Manchester Village Council voted on Monday, Feb. 6 to alter the employment status of the town’s police chief from full-time to part-time and eliminated all benefits for that post, effective immediately.
According to Clerk Treasurer Rae Ann Wilson-Insko, the decision was made in the town’s best fiscal interest.
“I think the village of Manchester is trying to balance the needs of the entire village, and that they are trying to operate in a way that would allow the village to continue on into the future and not just survive, but become a thriving community.” said Wilson-Insko. “The fact that the village has been operating in the negative for over 15 years has really kept it from taking advantage of opportunities for growth.”
The decision drew sharp criticism from Police Chief Jeff Bowling. “There’s no doubt the Council has a personal vendetta against me,” he said. “It was all fine when I was working 120 hours every two weeks and getting paid for 80 – now they’re trying to force me to quit.”
Councilwoman Teresa Blythe said the move was not unexpected.
“The village budget was passed in December 2016, and it called for creating the position of a part-time officer,” said Blythe. “Chief Bowling knew it would be a part-time position, and he was okay with that because he was working full time somewhere else, so it wasn’t anything new.”
Blythe said two auxiliary police officers would be working in the village on a volunteer basis.
Official documents show that the money appropriated for the police department’s 2017 budget was cut from $119,000 to $74,180 annually with $29,936 provided for salary, wages, and benefits; $7,044 for insurance; $2,500 for audit costs; $4,000 for telephone and internet; and $24,800 for car repairs, fuel, and car payments.
According to official documents, money brought in by the police department in cost and fines for Dec. 2016 was $968.
“It’s all about the money,” said Blythe. “Everything was done by the book.”