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January 9, 2014

Zanni seeks to cut one police captain position

METHUEN — Mayor Stephen Zanni said he planned to eliminate one captain's position inside the police department in the next budget, and in the meantime will not recommend to hire or promote to fill the spot vacated by retired Capt. Thomas Fram last fall.

The move will reduce the number of police captains to three, down from a high of five several years ago. There have been four over the last few years.

Solomon said yesterday that he would work with however many captains the city council chose to fund, though would make the case for more personnel if he felt the department required it.

Zanni said yesterday that he did not think the police department needs a fourth captain. "I don't think it's needed at that time. We had three captains for a number of years," he said.

He said he is looking at other communities similar in size to Methuen to compare police forces.

Fram retired in November, and no one has been promoted or hired to fill that vacancy. Zanni said he planned to recommend the captain budget line in the budget be reduced to three.

When he left the department, Fram earned a base salary of roughly $125,000, including a college stipend.

"I understand the city's reasons and the restraints," Solomon said yesterday. "Regardless of whether there are no captains or 10 captains, we'd do the job the city requires of us."

The chief said he is in the process of reviewing the responsibilities and job descriptions of all employees in the department top to bottom, a process he said occurs every few years. Zanni also made a request that every city department do the same several months ago.

That review, Solomon said, is to determine whether existing job descriptions fit with the department's and the city's needs.

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