As promised, New Paltz Town Council members have readied a law that would give cede membership in the Police Commission to residents other than those elected officials. A hearing on the new Police Commission law has been set for September 23. If passed, it would essentially roll back the clock to 2013, which was when appointed commissioners were ousted in favor of having council members pull double duty.
Police commissioners review complaints against and grievances filed by officers, conduct regular performance evaluations of the chief and weigh in on hiring decisions. One commission member participates in contract negotiations with police union officials. One change is in how the police budget is handled. The last time the commission was made up of appointees, they worked on and reviewed that portion of the town budget with the chief before it was submitted to the Town Council. Under this new scheme, the police budget would be handled in the same way other departmental spending plans are, namely that the department head — the police chief — would submit a proposal which would be modified as necessary by the supervisor or comptroller.
The structure of this new commission will be the same as it was eight years ago: there will be five members and three of these will have staggered three-year terms. The other two will serve a year at a time, meaning that three seats would be up for consideration every year. Commissioners would select their own chair.