The town will hold a public information meeting on the reorganization of the police department Monday, Jan. 5 at 6 p.m. at the Senior Center on Market St.
The only structural change is the creation of a captain position to be filled by current lieutenant Stephen Filak. Captain would be the only non-union position other than chief, and thus would not be eligible for overtime. According to Police Chief Joseph Sinagra, this means that although the base pay is higher than a lieutenant’s, Filak would receive less compensation overall.
Why would anyone want such a job, we asked? Because the captain would be the heir apparent if Sinagra were to take a job elsewhere.
“I don’t want people to think I’m jumping ship,” said the chief. “It would have to be a very enticing offer for me to leave.”
That said, Sinagra, who joined the department as deputy chief in late 2011 and became chief a few months later, seems unlikely to retire in Saugerties. Since taking over, he’s earned a master’s degree in public administration from Marist and pursued labor-intensive projects like department accreditation — think burnishing a C.V. rather than feathering a nest. He also established a reserve officer program.
As captain, Filak would be doing some of the same things he did as lieutenant, which Sinagra said would keep overtime down for the new lieutenant, Kenneth Swart, now detective sergeant. He’ll also be taking on some of the chief’s duties.
The Town Board has already approved Filak’s promotion. Other changes are expected to be voted on at the Jan. 7 organizational meeting. They are: Swart to lieutenant, detective Paul Gambino to detective sergeant, officer Courtney Loertscher to detective, and a new hire, David Stoutenberg, will join the department as patrolman.
The police department’s 2015 budget represents a 5.5 percent increase over the 2014 budget. Sinagra said those concerned about spending should keep in mind that the combined department is operating at less of a cost than the village and town departments did separately four years ago (the combined department will eclipse $2.4 million in 2016) and that the department has consistently represented 13 percent of the town budget, so its spending increases have been proportional to other town departments.