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January 9, 2014

Zanni seeks to cut one police captain position

(Continued)

Zanni said department heads have provided him with organizational charts and job descriptions as part of his review request. No other positions are specifically targeted at this time, but the mayor said others could be cut as the review process moves forward.

Lt. Greg Gallant, president of the Methuen Police Superior Officer Association, said he wanted to work with Zanni to resolve any issues and ensure the city has appropriate police coverage.

"We believe the position should be filled. The union's belief is the captain's position is key to maintaining accountability and performance in the department," he said yesterday. "However we understand the mayor is approaching this as a citywide budget issue he needs to resolve. The majority of our union members are not only officers, but citizens and taxpayers in the city of Methuen."

Last month, in response to a question by Councilor Joyce Campagnone, Zanni said he wanted to institute a hiring freeze. Yesterday, the mayor clarified, saying he meant no new positions would be created, but open positions will be filled.

Also in response to Campagnone's questions, Zanni said he still planned to hire a new chief of staff to take over from Nancy Colbert Puff, who left in November to become town manager in Kittery, Maine.

Promotions and hiring in the police department ultimately rests with the City Council, which receives the mayor's recommendations. The chief of police can make recommendations to the mayor.

This fiscal year, which began July 1, 2013, and runs to June 30, the council approved $411,264 for four captains.

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