Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Don't You Feel Stimulated?

Today, there will be a big announcement somewhere to tell us just how Obama's stim package is working for you and me here in the Lehigh Valley. We're getting more cops.

More than 4,600 police officers will be hired nationwide at a cost of about a billion dollars. That translates to about $217 thousand per cop. A highly placed source tells me Easton will be getting $750 thousand for police officers, while Bethlehem and Allentown will get the bum's rush. Now my source is pretty good, but I'm having trouble understanding why the Queen and Christmas cities were shortchanged. Maybe there's more to this story, but I thought you should know what I know.

Maybe the feds actually believed King Edwin when he said Allentown's crime problem is just some silly misperception. If they do, they'd be the only ones.

Update: According to The Express Times, Easton is the only LV community to have received money for new police officers, and the grant amount is $670 thousand, lower than what I reported. Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski is already threatening to lay off 39 police officers even though this grant money can only be used to hire new police officers.

Update #2: I told you this program will cost $217k per officer, but this is over a three-year period that includes salary, benefits and administrative costs.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

That makes no sense that Bethlehem would be passed over (with the Casino) and Atown with crime rate. Obama could have least provided a few men and women to watch those monitors from teh cameras on the traffic lights.

The only Stimilus plan I see that might work in the future is if our healthcare system remains the same, then the Baby Boomers will be dead sooner and others that live will be made incapacitated physically and unable to work because of denied claims, pre-existing conditions not covered, not preventitive help, etc...the basic need to keep profits up in the insurance industry. That will open up job opportunities for the younger generation and remove some of the present competition which will stimulate the economy. Survival of the fittest. Get the icebergs ready, the old Eskimos are going for a ride.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Well, let's wait for the official announcement. It makes no sense, but that's what I'm hearing.

Anonymous said...

12:22 sounds like a young New Dem.

lighthouse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lighthouse said...

First, this is not a new initiative. The COPS program has been around for over a decade providing funding for the hiring of NEW police officers. Other LV municipalities have hired through this program in the past.

Second, the $217k per officer is over the three year time span, or $72k per year for salary, benefits, and I am sure the administrative costs of running the program.

Third, the Express article quotes Senators Specter and Casey's letter: "We have already been informed by the mayor of Allentown that, as a result of failure to receive funding, 39 Allentown police officers will be laid off and we expect to hear many similar stories in the coming days." My understanding is that the grant is for the hire of NEW officers, not to add to the existing general revenue budget. In fact, a requirement to receive the grant is that newly hired officers must be retained by the receiving municipalities AFTER federal funding has expired (3 years). Failure to receive this grant should NOT be the reason for "the mayor of Allentown" allegedly being on the verge of laying off 39 officers. Very misleading.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Lighthouse, The COPS program was discontinued under Bush, and new funding was included in the $787 Recovery Act. I've updated my post as a result of your comment, which I appreciate.

Rising Sun said...

Bernie,

New York City and Pittsburgh received no money as well. The government received $8.3 billion in requests under the program, and made the decisions to grant $1 billion under a competitive process.

Look at it this way. They could have done this based on politics and given the money out that way. This was well administered.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Let's see. A-town has a raging crime problem and Bethlehem has a new casino. It does not appear to be well-administered at all. It looks more like a disaster. I'm sure A-town taxpayers will just love paying for new cops in Easton while people barrel down the street shooting at each other.

Anonymous said...

I didn't see where you "updated" the part about the $217k per officer is over the three year time span, or $72k per year for salary, benefits, and I am sure the administrative costs of running the program. That's a big difference.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You are right. But I do not feel I need to note that bc, in truth, we are still spending $217k for each new cop hired.

Anonymous said...

Your the self-editor, but I think it would be more clearer, if you would explain it that way. Thanks.

Bernie O'Hare said...

OK. I'll do it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It always helps to have an editor.

Anonymous said...

Since I'm on a roll here, let me ask you another question. Are you blaming the adminstration of the grant on the feds? or on the ineptitude of King Edwin having his own fiscal affairs in order?

Anonymous said...

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm amazed that Easton is able to do some long range planning and Allentown is not.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'll have to learn a bit more. I wanted to post the story and now know the ET has it, so I suspect we will learn more about it soon. But at first blush, it seems to me that A-town's need is as great as Easton's.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Easton has a better mayor than A-town.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

Everything is fine, why are you asking questions, are you some sort of self absorbed trouble maker seeking to bring attention unto yourself or are your motives far more sinister?

Allentown Democrat Voter

not so casual observer said...

Actually the original COPS program was discontinued as planned by Clinton. It was a quick infussion for several years that ended on it's own time table. The result was Lots of unemployed,( mostly minority and female)police. Why female and minority last hired, first gone, in places like Trenton, Philly ,Camden, Detroit, LA , well you get the picture.

The problem witht hese programs is, when the program ends so do the jobs.

lighthouse said...

Looking at the various posts from over night, I decided to go to the COPS website that is linked from the Express' on-line story.

1. they do give a history of spending from 1994 through 2007, so far as I can tell this did run during the Clinton years, and as Bernie stated, ended near the end of the Bush admin.

2. "At the conclusion of federal funding, grantees must retain all sworn officer positions awarded under the CHRP grant. The retained CHRP-funded position(s) should be added to the grantees law enforcement budget with state and/or local funds, over and above the number of locally-funded positions that would have existed in the absence of the grant." So, if Anon 6:45's assertion of laying officers off can be backed up, then those communities are in violation of the grant regulations (this rule was also part of the COPS funding pre-2007).

3. I would be curious if, and how many, officers were hired by Allentown in earlier years using the COPS funding source.

4. Allentown's problems are multi-faceted, and much larger than this grant program.

5. I would suspect the police pension contract from a few years ago probably had more impact on the city's budget than this grant program, but I'll admit to only speculating on that.

ironpigpen said...

Someday, "Well administered" and "Obama" and/or "Government" will NEVER appear in the same coherent sentence.

If it even does by now.

Check out the latest Gallup and Rasmussen polls. Unless I am mistaken, somebody is falling...

:)

Anonymous said...

There was some confusion. No police officers are going to laid off in Allentown. The 39 layoffs refer to the 39 SEIU workers who were laid off already.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Looks like there must have been some confusion. In the ET account that published around midnight, Lighthouse thankfully quotes that portion of the article noting that 39 A-town police officers were going to be laid off. That section is no longer on the online account so I believe that somewhere, the wires must have been crossed.

Thank God. The last thing A-town needs to do is reduce its police force.

Anonymous said...

More cops are a waste; we the people shouldn't stand for.

Republicans say were the riches nation because we have more people in jail than all others combined.