Greenwich officials working out festival agreement

Police, firefighters at odds over charge.
Scott Seitz2
Jun 16, 2013

There will be no charge for the softball tournaments at this year's firemen's festival and, consequently, no payouts either.

Eliminating the fee will exempt the softball tournaments from having to pay for security and allow the game to go on, according to the tournament's director Travis Wilson.

Due to new legislation recently passed by village council, the police have the authority to charge $20 per hour per officer who is policing all pay-to-enter events, prompting changes and an outcry from some residents and the fire department.

Stories about the controversy were published in the Friday and Saturday issues of the Norwalk Reflector. So you don't miss stories such as these, sign up for home delivery by calling 419-668-3771 or subscribe to the e-paper (a complete digital replica of each issue) for less than $1 per week and read the full-version of the stories online.

 

Comments

JakeMac25

This sounds a little fishy to me. It sounds to me like someone on council was trying to hook up the police department and someone got wind of it. Resulting in the softball tournament changes and no security. Why doesn't Greenwich look into hiring armed security guards for a fraction of the price? Just have them to do its events if this is becoming an issue. What was wrong with the way it was done before? What was the reason behind the $20 pay grade? Why not $15 or $10. Even if the pay per hour was lowered the pay would still be recovered to a $15+ an hour rate since most of the officers would more than likely be working overtime during the event. Bringing $10 to $15 an hour once time and a half is applied. $15 turns into $22.50. At $20 an hour the officers on overtime would be getting paid $30 an hour. Like I said, it sounds a little fishy to me and like a solution probably could have been reached. Greed and power are dangerous combos in small towns.

pillowpants

There's nothing fishy going on, really. The officers in Greenwich make 16 or so an hour. The Chief, certain council members and Mayor told council and the public for 4 meetings and over a month that the Greenwich budget is tight because the state took away like 100k from Greenwich general fund, as it did in other municipalities. The chief was looking for a way to not burden the tax payer further. At these softball tournaments and fireman festival, there is always drunken fights, drugs and people acting up. For 30 plus years Greenwich taxpayer has had to foot the bill to have extra officers on duty during these times( Greenwich usually has one officer per shift due to budget restraints). So if an officer had to come in on his day off or past his regular duties, it would cost the village like 25-26 bucks
an hour in overtime cost. The Chief of Police thought it wasn't right that the tax payer always had to foot the bill and drain the general fund further, and asked the organizers of the paid events to foot the bill instead of the of taxpayer. The S.O. and other police departments pay officers upwards of 30 an hour and event organizers pay it, not the tax payer. And as far as armed security? That's not a viable solution. They have zero arrest powers, and if something goes down, the police will have to respond anyway, thus taking them away from their patrol duties leaving the village without police protection while the officer deals with whatever is going on. And you, like a lot of people who did not attend the council meetings are misinformed. The 20 an hour means 20 and hour. It's not a raise. Even if an officer comes in on his days off to work an event for one hour, it is 20 bucks an hour straight fee. Not 20 bucks at overtime or 20 bucks plus overtime. People need to be more informed and get all the facts. I did, and I thank the Chief, Mayor and council for not charging the tax payer. Not to mention, all the years past fireman's festivals and softball tournaments were using Greenwich lights and water and not being charged for it, the residence of Greenwich were footing that bill.

JakeMac25

Thanks for more insight into this and yes I was misinformed. I wish you would have wrote the article since you provided more in depth facts about the situation. It sounds like a better solution for how the festival is ran needs to be looked at. There's no reason for the tax payers to pay for all of it. Someone does need to be patrolling the event for the simple reason that there will be fighting. What a mess this whole situation sounds like.

Linedriver

There will b fighting? I have been playing in that tourney for 15 or better years and don't recall any fights there except at the bar in town and that is normal police work.

pillowpants

Which tourney? I suppose you are talking about the one that goes on during the festival. Yes, every year there is a fight or two that breaks out. Ask one of the officers, or look at their police blotter/log.
I agree, I rarely seen one in the dugouts or on the field, but I have personally seen fights where these guys pitch there tents, camp and drink beer all night long waiting for their turn to play. Just because we don't happen to see one doesn't mean there isn't one.
And, talking to different people, officers, etc., some of the fights at the bar during the festival are a direct result of the "tourney". It's the only place where you can drink legally( but the ball players are notorious for drinking illegally at the park), a bunch of testosterone is present, rivals, people from out of town and add liquid courage and you get bad results. I agree that a bar fight is "normal police work", but how would you like to be the only guy on duty (Greenwich rarely has two officers on) when a fight breaks out at the bar because of the "tourney" and there are several people involved and backup is 20 minutes away(another town's p.d. or the understaffed S.O.)?

four

Drunks and fights in Greenwich,say it ain't so.When these fights occur they are going to call the cops anyway so why pay for them? Stop loaning the cops out to Willard.Help the Fireman out.