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Consultant Coming for Police Review

Matrix Consulting Group was awarded a $35,000 contract for the study.

A Palo Alto, Calif.-based consulting company is scheduled to visit the starting next week to look for "opportunities to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency" of the department, officials said.

Matrix Consulting Group was awarded a $35,000 contract to perform the study, which includes extensive interviews of township and police management and staff, and an analysis of the department's budget, policies, calls and workload.

Township officials have said they plan to look at each department to see what functions are necessary and they are starting with the police department. Officials said they brought in an outside firm to do the review because they wanted it performed by experts. The approved the agreement with Matrix on Dec. 13.

The review comes at a time when several police officials have said they plan to retire in the coming months and years.

"As a firm dedicated to assessing law enforcement service in New Jersey and across the country, we are excited for the opportunity to assess opportunities to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the Township of Montville's Police Department," Matrix Consulting Group President Richard Brady wrote in a Nov. 1 proposal.

He said the company has completed 250 similar assessments, including for departments in Bayonne, Ridgewood and Englewood Cliffs in New Jersey. The consultant team includes a project manager with a doctoral degree from Oxford University, an analyst who is a former municipal auditor and an analyst who is a former Southlake, Texas, police chief, according to the proposal.

The department has 42 full-time employees and a $5.1 million budget, according to the proposal.

pat January 19, 2012 at 11:40 AM
Where is the town getting the $35,000 from to do this study??
tee gee January 19, 2012 at 12:41 PM
They are probably funding this study from the same source that the Board of Ed used to hire its $30 k consultants to tell them which roads in town are dangerous for children to cross and walk to school..... DUH! Hopefully the township committee will actually use the data tha is generated and put it into practice; unlike the information that was gathered from the Board's transportation study. Nothing was ever done with it...Just another example of wasteful use of taxpayer money!
Mom Tlm January 19, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Hopefully we will get some common sense cost cutting measures put in place from this "consulting firm." $35,000 is a good size nut to be paying. Maybe, someone to help reallign priorities, since we know we've got to cut costs and put our money to the RIGHT activities. Can't do everything any more. . . Just a fact of the times. For example, if extreme financial scams are not solvable from our town police dept, don't have desk police working on them day after day. Work on the things like robberies and drugs to keep the town safe. This bullying thing has to be kept better under control by children's parents and not dependent on our school officials and police to control. Just like the old days--don't forget the old days and how things used to work.. Don't let the brainwashing "systems" take us over and spend all our money. They will try if we let them.
Maxim Sapozhnikov January 19, 2012 at 01:55 PM
The TC sees the need to downsize the police department - a measure that is bound to make them as popular as a pay toilet in Scotland - but lacks the testicular fortitude, so they have to pay someone to do the hatchet job for them.
Lisa LoBiondo January 19, 2012 at 02:40 PM
What if the consultants report says that they should hire MORE police????
Dave F January 19, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Great questions for the Township committee that should be asked by the public at their next meeting which is Tuesday night. I have also found that emailing/calling the Township Administrator or the Mayor with a question yields a detailed answer when I do not have the time to attend their sessions. In case you have not noticed, they do not respond to "rants" on Patch....as much as we all have tried to suck them in. Rants are good, but if there are legitimate questions and concerns, they should be addressed via the appropriate channels if you truly want answers. Works for me....
Maxim Sapozhnikov January 19, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Were you in the business of governing, you would know that the conclusions were agreed upon BEFORE the contractor signed up.
John Go January 19, 2012 at 02:52 PM
We have 42 officers policing a town with a population in excess of 20,000 people. Downsizing would only make sense.
Dave F January 19, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Max - that's a ridiculous conclusion based on an uninformed opinion. Even if you are correct, the ONLY way to keep that mindset in check and prevent this from happening again is to make them accountable for their actions. The best way to do that is to force an answer to these questions on public record. Commenting on this site just doesn't cut it if you are truly interested in change....
David January 19, 2012 at 02:59 PM
@ John GO, I believe the article said 42 full time EMPLOYEES That would include civilian dispatchers and staff. Does anyone know how many actual Officers there are?
art daughtry January 19, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Hi Max The PD does not need to be downsized, however we are top heavy in the upper ranks. All of this is old news and already documented with the proposed (3 years ago) table of organization (TO) for the PD. What needs to happen is to get more officers on the street by replacing retiring ranking officers with patrolmen. Head count is good and the humane way of getting to a proper TO is by attrition and posting the new org chart so all officers know what future opportunities for advancement will be. You are correct on the consultant recommendations being the rubber crutch for the TC. Jake - Just to make sure your readers get this correct there should be no conection between officers retiring and a proper TO. The TO comes first and then, as officers retire, you migrate to the TO. Its called planning! Other similar issues exist with a proper Chief of Police contract which spells out the benefits and perks for our Chief. Again these issues were identified a few years back, however the job description and perks for the chief have never been updated reflecting, for example, sick pay etc. The citizens should also understand that once a police officer accepts the Chief's position they are no longer under the PBA umbrella.
Maxim Sapozhnikov January 19, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Dave F - You just threw out a silly personal attack without any ground and justification. I did not, in fact, make any conclusion. I just posted a fact that is well known to anyone who had ever been in a managerial position. Read my answer to Art Daughtry for further details.
Dave F January 19, 2012 at 03:07 PM
ART - " All of this is old news and already documented with the proposed (3 years ago) table of organization (TO) for the PD. " Are you saying that you, and the rest of the TC, failed three years ago to address these and any other issues regarding the PD? What happened ????
Maxim Sapozhnikov January 19, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Art - I did not say the PD has to be downsized. Moreover, even if it had to be, I do not possess the skills to determine that, and will defer to the TC to do it correctly, if at all. I just stated a fact which is trivial to anyone who ever dealt with investigative contractors. One thing I can say for sure: unlike the teachers, the police force performs to my full satisfaction, but whether it can be achieved with less expense is up to the TC.
Lisa LoBiondo January 19, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Well said Dave F! I don't believe the TC could possible know what will be in the consultants report, nor do I believe the results are preconcieved. The TC should wait for the results and then follow the recommendations of the consultants- only a fool pays for advice and then doesn't follow it. With that said, I will remove myself from these "rants" as it looks to be getting ugly.
Dave F January 19, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Max - Apologies for what you feel is a silly personal attack. Having said that, you did in fact make a conclusion : "The TC sees the need to downsize the police department" and "conclusions were agreed upon BEFORE the contractor signed up." I think you are wrong on both counts, and if you are correct please indicate when the TC "decided to downsize" (meeting date or any comments on public record) and the conclusions that were reached before they hired the consultant. If it's is not part of public record and you have "inside" info, please share it with the rest of us. I hope this is not just pure speculation on your part....
art daughtry January 19, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Hi Dave To answer directly - yes I think the reason was politics - Being proactive at times is not a politicians strong suit if being proactive can have negative voter impacts. That goes for all levels of politics. Just my 2 cents. All Jake has to do is ask the acting administrator for a dated copy of the TO. The TO was openly addressed at several TC meetings over the years with the last one being the meeting where laying off up to 5 rookies to make our budget was debated. Again all of this is public info if you want to do the research and get the tape of the meeting.
Dave F January 19, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Art - thank you for your candor, it's not something we see that often these days in Montville. I hope this TC doesn't allow politics to drive the current review - I would have a real problem seeing $35,000 being flushed down the toilet for no reason.
Maxim Sapozhnikov January 19, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Dave F - That the TC has decided to downsize the PD is, indeed, my assumption based on my professional estimate. I could fathom no other reason to hire a hatchet consultant. Whether the downsizing is justified or not, and whether it will involve head count, titles, benefits, or salaries, I have no clue. I'll trust the TC's judgment and will personally support their decision as long as the quality of police coverage is not affected.
art daughtry January 19, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Hi Dave Thanks for your kind words. This article strikes a nerve with me as if you can't tell. I've lost friends in the FD and PD over just these types of issues. Being candid about an issue is tough for most elected officials. In the last 25 years I believe there were two prior studies and of course they add value. Question is how much and is it worth the $35,000 when possibly the TC could simply just put on the table what has already been (I think) agreed to several years ago. Either way this should not be a witch hunt or any criticism of any individuals in the PD that might happen to be in positions that probably shouldn't exist.
Jake Remaly (Editor) January 19, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Here's the actual, current breakdown: 37 officers 4 dispatchers 1 records clerk 1 part-time records clerk 1 secretary So that's 43 full-time employees and one part-time employee.
Jake Remaly (Editor) January 19, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Art, can you give any more info on the table you mention? When, how and why it was created, who came up with it. I'm also not sure when the layoff discussion took place.
art daughtry January 19, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Hi Jake It is a fancy name for an organization chart. The TO is what our former administrator used to describe the structure of the police department. The original draft was prepared by our former assistant administrator Jasmin Lim who is now the administrator in Parsippany. That was about 7 years ago. The "TO" I believe was accepted by the TC about 3 years ago. I'm around at the FAS till 7 PM if you want to stop and talk. Otherwise you can contact Trudy at town hall and put in an OPRA request. Art
art daughtry January 19, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Jake You weren't the Patch editor when the layoff discussions took place. The end result was no one got laid off and the officers took comp time or no pay rather than over time to work the 4th of July parade etc. I can assure you while everyone looked like heroes in the end (TC and PBA) it didn't start out that way.
mark January 19, 2012 at 11:08 PM
This is such joke - no rants - jjust plain dirty politics in this town they hire a new CFO for over $16,000 more then the one who had the job for years - now they are hiring consulting firm - fist questions should be asked is - whose buddy is this guy related to on the committe
Jake Remaly (Editor) January 19, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Art, thank you for the info. Mark, the new CFO is making less than the previous one. After the last CFO retired, the town set a lower salary range for the position, but never filled it in that range. They said the market was such that they had to pay more for a candidate at the level they were looking for. We're hoping to have a story about the new CFO in the future.
Dan Grant January 20, 2012 at 01:18 AM
I understand that up to 8 Police Officers will be leaving next year. That drops the level to below the 1990 levels when the Township population was about 15,000 and we are now about 23,000. I don't think you need some "Expert" to help you understand how a police department needs to operate and what standards will require for a 24/7 operation in a 19 square mile Township. A basic requirement of leadership of the Township is to understand how the Police department operates and what man/woman power is needed. Public safety is the number one service that a Community is supposed to provide and farming that out to some other unaccountable group is not what is needed here. As Art points out there have been studies and there are recommended standards published by Police organizations as well as the NJ State Police. Let the Township Committee face their own responsibilities. The Montville Police Departmant doesn't need this outside intrusion. Some of those leaving are doing so because of a general attitude that it is ok to treat any public employee as if agreements and contracts don't matter and that is a shame.
David January 20, 2012 at 03:42 AM
Well there ya go, a couple of hours, 1 question and we have downsized from 42 to 37, anyone want to write me a check for 35,000.00?

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