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Posted April 17, 2012 | comments 69 Comments

Front Royal looks for ways to recruit and retain police

By Joe Beck -- jbeck@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- A spike in the turnover rate among police and other departments has given town officials a new focus on improving workforce recruitment and retention.

Growing concern over recruitment and retention can be seen in an unfunded plan in the proposed 2012-2013 budget that would create new opportunities for pay raises and promotion among police patrol officers.

Town manager Steve Burke said the plan would establish minimum requirements that would allow officers to advance to different tiers of patrol officer designation. Under the current structure, corporal is the next step up from patrol officer, Burke said.

The Police Department is coping with the loss of six officers in the last four months, a rate that Capt. Mark Werner called "not the norm, that's for sure."

Werner said three of the vacancies are expected to be filled next month when recruits graduate from the police academy. An additional two are in the final stages of background checks, he said. That leaves one position for which the department still needs to advertise, Werner said.

Werner said four of the officers who left went to other agencies, two of them to the Warren County Sheriff's Office and two to Frederick County. One retired. Werner said the starting pay for a patrol officer is around $34,500.

Burke blamed the turnover rate on the absence of regular pay increases over the last four budget cycles. The town gave employees a 2 percent cost of living increase in the fiscal 2011-2012 budget and is proposing a one-time bonus of $500 for full-time and $250 for part-time employees this year.

In addition to police, the town has also recently lost operators at the waste water treatment plant to other communities, Burke said. Vacancies have also popped up among water and sewer maintenance employees and street crews, he said.

Burke said more needs to be done to keep competent, qualified employees and the police recruitment and retention initiative is a signal that town officials intend to do so -- eventually. For now, he said, the town lacks the money to put the plan into action.

Despite the absence of funding, Burke said the inclusion of new pay incentives for police represents tangible progress.

"The reason we included it in the budget was to establish the desire to implement the program when we can confirm that current and future revenues will support it," he said.

69 Comments | Leave a comment

    Over the last 2 years the Town has replaces 5 of 8 director staff positions from either firing or voluntary leaving of people. This was part of the "new direction" that mayor Darr and councilman Tharpe talked about . There was an effort the get rid of 2 additional staff that proved unsuccessful. Money is not the only reason that people leave a company or organization. These are tough economic times and everybody is feeling the pressure. As long as people feel appreciated in their jobs and are allowed to do their jobs with out having to look over their shoulders,they will hang in though the tough times. You need to look deeper at this situation and go to the top of the decision chain for the answers.

    Simple economics should tell anyone that funding a retention plan is less costly than continuously hiring and training new personnel.

    As a former police officer in both small and medium size agencies in another state, small does not have to equal unprofessional. What we have here is another example of a small agency that has become the training ground for other agencies. From experience, I can say this is unfortunate and a very bad place to be for a public administrator. So how does it happen?

    Failure to attract high paying private jobs in the community in cutting edge and established industries is the culprit here. If one's community is overloaded with low skill, low paying jobs, less tax revenue is collected and folks like teachers and cops cannot make a living. There is a direct relationship between the pay in the private and public sector careers.

    This "we cannot compete with Northern Virginia" garbage really needs to end! We could if the correct economic development steps are taken and we stop attempting to attracti low skill jobs to the area.

    This was all covered up by the housing boom. Now that the bubble has burst, we have nothing else to offer. Metropolitan Maryland has biotechnolgy, Northern Virginia has governement contracting, both good paying careers. What do we have? Distribution centers and whats left of the low skill manufacturing which is slowly but surely being automated.

    What happened to the JMU satellite campus? The key to start the process is an educated workforce. They couldn't go to the old superfund site and now that idea is gone, just like the economy. The necks continue to rule the day. And so the skilled go over the mountain. Sad.

    Money creates loyal employees?

    Who is misdirecting public attention away from the true causes of high employee turnover?

    Where does the responsibility rest for encouraging a work environment hostile to ALL employees?

    Whose personal and selfish actions perpetuate employee indifference instead of loyality?

    Darr -- Tharpe -- Holloway -- Lauder.

    The Current Town Council Hired the Current Town Manager. Employees run for the hills! In these hard ecnomic times why would employees run from their jobs? I understand that the Mayor does not hire regular town employees and the town council does not have much say in the matter as well. However, the Mayor and Town Council Hired the Town Manager aftering firing a good and very qualified Town Manager. The loss of Qualified Police Officers and other town Management and employees speaks directly to the serious lack of leadership that the Current Mayor and Current Town Council has provided this town since 2010. Councilmen Holloway, Lauder, and Tharpe share the blame right beside Mayor Timothy Darr. Why? Because those three casted the votes to fire a very good town manager and we are now reaping the rewards of their actions! Something is wrong in Town Hall!! And it's employees are not sticking around to find out what is wrong. They are simply running for the hills and they are not looking back.

    What do we do about it?

    Simple steps to take.
    Vote in Eugent Tewalt, Bret Hrbek, and Linda Allen for town council. With Tewalt's and Hrbek's experience and past dedication to the welfare of the town and it's citizens and Allen's educated and common sense way of approaching problems Front Royal cannot go wrong! And Also we need to elect Tim Ratigan as Mayor. Tim Ratigan is the only one in the mayor's race who has had the courage to talk about the issues. Even though Tim is lacking Experience I feel we can not do worse by electing him. Tim Darr is running on his record and vast amount of experience. Well How is that working out for the voters of Front Royal? Look at what we have now. Town hall is in shambles! Steve Burke is saying that we need to do something but we lack the funds to do anything. Well answer us this Mr. Burke. If we are so low on funds why pray tell did we borrow over a million dollars to purchase a building? Your employees are the most important asset that this town has. You can buy all the buildings you want too. But it is your employees and the dedication that they give to this town is what really shows us what kind of job you are doing and what kind of job the Mayor and council is doing. Look around people! This scene being played out before us all will only get worse if we do not vote these clows out of office on May 1st.

      This town was a complete embarrassment under the leadership of Tewalt!! The town was the laughing stock of the valley. There is a reason that Tewalt and Hrbek were NOT re-elected and, Darr and Tharpe were elected, and that reason is because they were poor leaders and the voters wanted them out.

      If the voters want to be the laughing stock of the valley again then I guess they should vote for Ratigan for mayor because that is what they are going to get. Ratigan is a joke!!!!!

      Geoff- to bad Sayre is not up for re-election because he needs to go but the town is stuck with him for 2 more years.

        It cannot be denied that the Town of Front Royal Employees did not start leaving until after the Town Council under the leadership of Mayor Tmothy Darr fired Mik Graham as Town Manager and hired a "Yes Man" Steve Burke to replace. The town of Front Royal has been back sliding ever since Mayor Timothy Darr took office. It also cannot be denied that Tim Darr deliberately went against the majority of the Citizens of Front Royal by voting against the request of the people to move the town elections from May to November. Mr. Darr had a real opportunity to step up to the plate and lead by breaking the tie in favor of moving the elections from May to November. But he failed to do so. Tim Darr has proven that he cannot lead. Ask yourself this question. Are you better off now then you were two years ago.

        For one month and a half since the spring tourism season began I have not seen the Mayor of Front Royal Timmy Darr on Main Street Promoting the town of Front Royal. When Mayor Tewalt was in Office he spent hours a day in the Town Hall working with the Town Manager and every weekend he was on Main Street promoting the town of Front Royal. Mr. Tewalt was not an embarrasment to the Town. He was and is a vaulable asset to this town.

    Hrbek is NOT the answer to this problem. I am sure the town employees have not forgotten that he was the one recommending 10% salary cuts for staff in his fiscal zealotry (aka irresponsible governance and lack of leadership).

    And please do not exempt that dope Sayre from this mess... Let us not forget how he seems to miss meetings (with hilarious excuses) any time a tough decision needs to be made or controversial vote taken--like the vote to fire Mike Graham, when Sayre at his own admission had to run to his daughter's college dorm because the door was malfunctioning. Then he played the wounded parent card when he was criticized... "don't bring my family into this!" You brought them into it, dope!

    Unfortunately, the good old boys network has such a grip on the town, I doubt anyone who needs to be voted out of office will be voted out of office.

    We'll have another term of the same old corruption while the town slides further into irrelevance.

      I refuse to believe that after the two years of incompetence and back sliding that the Town Voters will choose to stay at home and not vote these incometent fools out of office. The citizens of Front Royal have a real opportunity to vote in competent leaders who are not interested in their own power or agenda. If the people do not come to vote in force and if the good ole boys retain their hold on power then Front Royal deserves this type of leadership. I find it hard to believe that we will be stuck with the same ole same ole. I have faith in this town and the voting public to do the right thing. Tewalt, Hrbek, Allen for Council and Ratigan for Mayor!

    Geoff,

    Bret suggested the 10% reduction in salaries after Holloway absolutely refused to raise taxes to cover rising costs and refused to cut services to lower costs. Tiederick had been beating the council up with his disengenuos attacks on the "obese" town government. Bret's comment at that point was something to the effect that the only way we could do what everyone wanted was to cut salaries 10%. He had absolutely no intention to do that and he has been forever branded with something he suggested in order to make a point.

    Of course, Matt used his comment to attack him in his pre-election smear letter along with a disengenuous recitation of Bret's voting record to ensure that Bret didn't get elected.

      And because Matt Tederick's disengenuos attakcs on Bret Hrbek the town of Front Royal has had to suffer the loss of Mike Graham an extremely competent town manager. Because of the havoc Tederick reigned upon the previous council we have a extremely weak mayor who has refused to lead the council and has pandered to the County Administrator and county BOS every chance he got.

      Tom Conkey,

      It is you who are being disingenuous.

      Let me pull a quote from the Late November 2010 edition of The Warren County Report, page 14: "Do I need to remind you of the [council] meeting that followed Bret Hrbek's recommendation that we cut salaries 5 percent and stop or reduce payments to the library..." Who said those words? It was Tom Conkey speaking to the WCR reporter! It was Bret Hrbek's recommendation to cut salaries 5%. Your words, not mine. I was wrong about the exact percentage but that was his serious proposal, and the backlash he got from that and the library cuts were 100% his own doing.

      Tom, do I need to remind YOU of the meeting after Hrbek's recommendation? The Town Council Meeting minutes of 3/8/2010 (found on the Town website) also speak to the fact that this was something Hrbek was completely serious about. That was the meeting which you referred to in your quote above... There were Town employees who spoke at that meeting about the *recommended* pay cuts. Unless you think that all these Town employees are idiots who only believe what they read in a Matt Tederick attack letter...

      Oh, wait a minute--Town employees are typical fodder for Tederick's blow-hard attacks, so why the heck would they believed what he said anyway? They know better. They were reacting to the "recommendation" (again, your words) that Hrbek made.

      Second, no where in the minutes does Hrbek disavow that position--in fact, he clarifies his position further: "[Hrbek] stated that the Human Resource Office had many calls regarding the proposed 5% cut in salary, and he added that no one was targeting the Police Department, as any cuts would be imposed across the board, if they were implemented." In other words: salary cuts for ALL employees.

      That pesky internet has done it again!

        Geoff - Thank you for your comments. I appreciate the feedback and like to hear how my words and actions come across in public.

        If you remember in the spring of 2010 we were looking at a potential $1.2 million shortfall in revenue because of the potential police funding cut from the state and the loss of the revenue from 522. We had already cut the town government over the past several years and did not have any other major place to cut. A majority of my colleagues would not even consider raising taxes so the only thing left to do was continue to cut--which they also refused to do. The only budget item that was large enough to make a dent in the problem was salaries.

        My wife is a school teacher in Warren County and they have not seen a raise in 5 years. So I understand how inflation has eaten away at her spending ability. And I can also imagine the reaction she would have if the school board suggested a cut in salaries. However, given the fact that the Council was not willing to find other revenue sources and we had to provide the essential services of police, roads, etc. we had to cut somewhere. The only place left was salary.

        I made the suggestion (it was not a formal proposal, by the way) in the paper in order to force my colleagues to make a decision. Too many of them where burying their head in the sand hoping the situation would go away. I believe I was elected (as I think any public official should feel) to make tough decisions, stand by those choices and face the voters. That is what I did. Much like the first person to speak out on the television show "Survivor" I was "voted out" first.

        I'm always happy to talk about these issues. Feel free to visit me on Facebook or e-mail me at bwh@hrbek.org or my cell at 660-5732.

        By the way, Councilman SimonSays, Esq. hasn't met a spending plan he doesn't like or a cut he can agree. And I'm not sure what I ever did to First Lady Spunky to solicit some of the reactions on here.

    LOL!!! You are fooled again. Not even close.

    Town voters need to pay attention and get out and vote!! Sayre has been elected twice because of low voter turnout. Twice!!! Unfortunately he is not eligible for the boot yet. Town voters need to pay attention this election because the actions of the old leadership are starting to show and it is time to rebuild.

    Councilman Hollaway said at the debate that he has never voted for a tax increase. He has also never offered any solutions to the problem of making up for lost revenue from the down turn in the economy and from the loss of the meals tax revenue in the 522 corridor. His only solution was to take the money from the electric fund to make up the difference. That was a very dangerous solution to a long term problem with the support of other good old boys on this current Council. Lets keep all the services the same and keep taking money from the electic fund. Lets buy more buldings with Town money. Lets give better deals to county businesses for Town water on the back of the Town tax payerspayers. Lets all sign up for 4 more years of this leadership that will put this community even more in the hole. Remember Mr Hollaway said at the debate that he thinks this Council is doing a great job>

      That is because in his mind the Council is doing a good job. Remember he is the one in power. So naturally he is going to say that the Council is doing a good job. This Council with the exception of a few has continued to cave to the wants and needs of the County. And the only reason that Holloway votes no on tax increases is because he knows he is safe. He knows that there will always be a majority who will vote no for tax increases and he will come out looking like the good guy. Keeping in mind that he doesn't mind spending the taxpayers dollars once he has them. Interesting. Now let's look at this differently shall we? What if his precious Kholls or ball fields were in danger of being pushed aside if the Town of Front Royal did not raise taxes? I wonder what Mr. Holloway's vote would be then? We must continue to call into question every action that the Town Council and Mayor has taken during these last two years.

    And Mr.or Mrs. Editor, if you are going to allow this Tabitha person to accuse me of being this Ratigan Fellow then you should allow me the same courtesy or remove her comments about me being this Ratigan Fellow.

    Everyone is missing the point. Cops are leaving because of the lousy pay with no hope for improvement. When was the last time you saw ANY local politician say they were going to fully fund public safety efforts in this community? Can't recall. It's only about greasing the skids for their friends and ignoring local crime fighters.

    Why must you people detract from the real story here. The tax payers of Front Royal are the real losers in this. Ask yourself how much money goes out the door every time an officer leaves? Then how much money is spent to hire, equip, and train a new officer? 3-4 years of experience lost plus 3-4 years to gain that experience again, do the math. How much is the retention program going to cost versus the loss of one, two, or three officers. The tax payers of Front Royal deserve to know.

    You people in Front Royal had better keep the people that has worked so hard to get you the second cheapest electric rates in va.===you should pay rappahanocks rates here in warren county. MR. Radigan or should i say(truth will set you free) you write this stuff as IN the same fashion you do when you speak to the Front Royal council. Disengenuos is a word used by Mr. Conkey and Mr. Tederick.You sir have a flow of words that points directly to you.And these other people that have been making comments about how bad the town you live in is doing so bad, (BUT) if you and the three you suggest Tewalt>Hrbek>and Allen are elected the town will be saved! And you will be the mayor of tourism, the Now how about this, how about electing Darr

    My comment got cut off so lets fix that. How about the voters vote and elect Darr,Tewalt,Allen

    The town of Front Royal should have some type of Donut Dicount Card that they can offer to the local police. I think this would put the town at a competitive edge. Maybe the town could advertise this Donut Discount Card to the cops in Strasburg, since there isnt a good place to buy donuts down there. This might expand the recruiting opportunities and help retainage

    Really????? The police are asking for assistance to fix a problem. Do any of you self appointed important people (current council and council hopefuls) really believe that any of those officers care who's sitting in the seat? They just want be treated fairly and taken care of by the government that hired them to protect its citizens! So Mr. Conkey, how about saying something useful about this story instead of defending Hrbek who has nothing to do with it. Let's get back on track here. The police have presented a viable option for recruitment and retention. The reaction???? Oh that's a good idea, but we're not going to fund it!!! Talk about your unfunded mandate.

    I am at a loss for words here. How can there be 27 comments on a story about the Town losing their police officers and maybe 1% of the comments have to do with the story. How did this turn into an election story?

    People, do you understand that each time you lose a police officer there is one less on the street to answer your call in the middle of the night? To respond to your traffic accident? Do you all actually enjoy WAITING to have a response and want to blame all this on the politics in this town?

    Clearly the Front Royal Police Department does not have the backing of the citizens because no one here has actually offered up a viable solution or conversation, instead you all have turned this into an election article.

    Thats a shame, because you have some very good and dedicated people who work for the PD...don't you want to help find an answer on NOT losing them? And yes, think of the time and money invested each time you have to advertise, interview, hire and TRAIN an individual....

    I'm at a loss....

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      Its an election issue because its the elected officials who decide how much funding the department receives. It begins and ends with the elected officials. I don't believe anyone commenting wants less police presence or wants to continue losing officers.
      All sides of the equation need to be taken into consideration, from the competitive wages, to the budget allotted for it, to the simple fact that some police officers sign on to work for the community, not to do their job sometimes, but other times let so and so go because they are (x) persons cousin, brother, yada yada, and if they actually do their job they stay on the bottom rung because they ticked off the boys club somewhere along the line.
      I applaud Mr. Ratigan for at least saying that while raising taxes would be a last resort, it cant be taken off the table. Sometimes compromises have to be made that no one on any side is happy with but accomplishes the end means.
      My only question is, Is this an honest realization of reality or just a pander for votes from a former Tea Party supporter?

    For those of you who defended me yesterday thank you. I appreciated it but I can certainly speak for myself.

    I would like to address the former police officer first. Thank you for your service in defending the law and protecting and serving. You hit the nail on the head when you said, “Failure to attract high paying private jobs in the community in cutting edge and established industries is the culprit here. If one's community is overloaded with low skill, low paying jobs, less tax revenue is collected and folks like teachers and cops cannot make a living. There is a direct relationship between the pay in the private and public sector careers.” And I couldn’t help but notice that nobody picked up on your common sense comment.

    Plain and simple this is what we need to do. The former Police officer is correct. Front Royal must start attracting the types of jobs what will pay higher wages and contribute to the tax revenue for Front Royal. This must happen! Right now the town Government is maintaining a “status quo”. And this economic downturn will not resolve itself in the next year or two. We might see an improvement in maybe five years. In the mean time we must work hard with the EDA and seek out or create the types of jobs that will bring in higher paying jobs and add to the Tax Revenue for the town. Now why hasn’t the police officers gotten a raise? Why hasn’t the town employees gotten a raise? We don’t have it in the budget. We will not have it in the budget until one of two things happen.

    1. The economy gets better. Are we willing to sit on our hands and wait for that too happen? My guess is probably not. So what are our options? We can continue to transfer funds and borrow funds from our electric fund. Or we can get busy and create or bring in higher paying jobs and increase our tax revenue that way.

    2. We can raise taxes on an already economic stressed populace. Now that is a word or phrase that no one wants to hear. But the facts are the facts. Or we can get busy and create or bring in higher paying jobs and increase our tax revenue that way.

    Like it or not it is not going to be easy. We cannot continue to borrow from the electric fund to balance the town’s budget. So we are left with two choices raise taxes or increase the tax revenue by attracting higher paying jobs to our community. I do not like the idea of raising taxes. But I will have the courage to say that I will not take that option off the table! And I am not going to say what is safe like some do and claim that I cannot raise taxes period. I will say this. We must do everything possible to avoid raising taxes on our fellow citizens before going to that option.

    Now to all of you out there who keep insisting that this “truth will set you free” is me. I’m not sure to how to feel about that. Should I feel insulted? Or should I feel complimented? Neither. Instead I will say I have never been ashamed about coming forth and speaking my mind. I do not hide behind aliases. If I have something to say I come out and say it no matter how wrong or controversial it might be.

    I must say I like it when someone on this thread makes sense. Thank you.

    So, we have options on the table. Hope for a better economy, bring higher end business and industry into the town and elect new people..............none of which helps the current situation. Elections will do nothing as it hasn't been successful for town employees for the last decade. The other two options will take a decade to come to fruition. Meanwhile, the town continues to lose trained professionals just like it lost a lawsuit that left a gaping hole in the budget. And what's being done about either? Talk talk and more talk, but zero action. Most businesses consider a 10% attrition rate to be very serious. Most successful businesses consider their employees to be their most valuable asset. At some point, people have to wonder why there are always advertisements for employment in Front Royal. I don't think it's because there are that many jobs! Are tough questions being asked? Why did that many officers leave? Was it money, lack of opportunity, lack of leadership or a combination? Better question.......why is it that this group of elected officials appear to have been oblivious to what has happened?

      I would be very interested in hearing what you would do in this situation. And I am being honest. Not sarcastic. There may be a citizen in Front Royal who may have a solution that we have not yet heard. Because if we want to retain our Police Officers and other Town Employees at the current time I see only two options. Borrow from the Electric funds (We cannot continue to borrow from Peter to pay Paul) to give them a raise and hope that it will help encourage them to stay or raise taxes for the purpose of giving our Police officers and town employees a raise. Now remember these are our public servants. They keep our town safe and running and they provide us with the services that we the people rely on. Without them law and order crumbles and the infrastructure falls apart.

      Given the fact that you have pointed out the other options on the table are going to take up to 10 years to bear fruit the only other options at this point is the ones I just listed above. Now here is the catch. Who on the council is going to vote to do the diffilcult thing and vote for a tax increase? And remember it is an election year. If it comes down losing good qualified and highly trained Police officers and other trained town employees or raising taxes which one will they choose. And that includes the Mayor. Because he may have to break a tie vote.

      As a candidate for Mayor I will go on the record and say that if push comes to shove and I have to choose between the loss of our Law Enforcement Officers and our town employees and I have to break a tie I will make the hard choice encourage the council to leave the funds in the Electric Fund where it belongs and vote for a tax increase if need be. You must be prepared to make the hard choices. And that includes those unnamed Town Council Members who always chooses the easy way out and always vote no on tax increases. Remember that they never have a problem spending the funds they just can't seem to vote for the tax increase that gives them the funds to spend such as buying new office buildings, oh wait they borrowed from the electric fund to do that.

      We must elect couragous men and women who are not afraid to do the unpopular thing and cast that difficult vote that will anger alot of people. But those same people who might be angy at you for voting a tax increase will continue to expect to have law enforcement, trash pick up, road repair and all the other services that they rely on and Front Royal will continue to survive.

        If the Town Council thinks that Town employees are too dumb to see that they just bought a huge building... But they have been too poor to give out raises for years... I got news for ya.

        Mr. Ratigan, there is no easy solution. The solution requires some intestinal fortitude. There is no where else in the town's budget to cut. If you cut anywhere, it will require the cutting of positions as well. So what positions will the elected officials cut? Or will they cut nothing? Or will they finally realize that in order to sustain a professional level of service, it requires that the professional be compensated for what they're doing. If that means a $.02 increase then so be it. But if they (or you if elected) are not willing to raise the monies needed to pay for the service that is expected from the public then at least be honest with the public and tell where they WILL NOT be receiving service! Its actually pretty simple. If you want a Cadillac you pay for a Cadillac, if you want a Pinto then pay for a Pinto. But don't expect the luxuries out of that Cadillac ride when you opt for the Pinto! Doing more with less is a fallacy.

    Thank you Sword, Where are the elected officials? have any of them asked or told the public what the cost of this unfunded budget item will cost? Hey council what is the cost? Mr. Conkey what is the cost? Mr. Darr what is the cost? Mr. Tharpe, Mr. Parker, Mr. Holloway. Mr. Lauder, and yes even you Mr. Sarye what is the cost of this retention program???? Will the real council please stand up and answer the question? Will the citizens of Front Royal stand up and demand the answers?? Time will tell meanwhile the crime fighters of River City go about their business as the true professionals that they are. Will someone please stand up and demand the answers that need to be answered?

    FRPD is in the same position as several other area jurisdictions. When are local politicians going to realize the importance of retaining quality police officers so to not create the revolving door that these departments are now seeing??

    As much as the officers (yes, myself included) would like to continue to patrol the streets they are familiar with and vice-versa, the residents are used to seeing the same officers whom they have a rapport with, it becomes a matter of supply & demand.

    Veteran officers are struggling to pay their monthly household bills because of small town politics and the reluctance to increase taxes or explore other methods for generating revenue to pay for those services the taxpayers expect. He/she then has no choice but to look elsewhere, where their experience and expertise are going to be compensated for, leaving the taxpaying citizens with newly trained, less experienced officers!

    Where are the localities elected & appointed officials priorities at? A 'Master Police Officer Program' means absolutely nothing if it is not backed by funding from the council. For way too long, FRPD and other area agencies have been tasked with "doing more with less" in the terms of yearly budgeting and cutting positions within their departments.

    It's hard enough for these officers to take pride in their dept when they are working out of a severly out-dated 90 year old Post Office & haven't seen a decent raise in over 4 years! The FRPD still has a lot of great officers dedicated to protecting the citizens of Front Royal, but unless there is a change to the current 'status qou', you will continue to see young, inexperienced new faces on the streets with the revolving door constantly in motion!

    Geoff,

    Engenuous means UNintentionally honest.
    Disengenuous means intentionally DIShonest.

    The nice thing about taking something out of context is that you can attribute practically anything to just about anyone.

    My point in the Warren Report article was that after Bret issued his challenge, the citizens came out in droves to tell us that there were certain services that they were willing to pay for. (It's on page 14 for the interested.)

    Bret did indeed make the suggestion. I never said he didn't, but he did not seriously expect or even want to do that. He said it for the effect and the effect was a council meeting that ran until 1:00 in the morning with a steady stream of citizens who were telling us that there are critical services (specifically the Police and the Library) that they wanted to make sure that we didn't cut.

    For the record, I do care deeply about the FRPD and I think they are a remarkable group of people. I agree that we need to figure out how to stop the migration of our officers to other jurisdictions. Everyone in this community is suffering from the economic downturn and the only way we are going to recover and have the money to pay our citizens what they deserve is to bring businesses to the community that pay living wage jobs.

      Tom,

      No, disingenuous (two i's) means lacking in frankness or candor, and that is precisely what I was accusing you of.

      And I fully expected you to pull out something about context, but the context of this quote is really irrelevant because I was using it to show that you referred to the Bret Hrbek Salary Cuts as a "recommendation." I don't care in what context you made that statement because the context is irrelevant.

      Again I say you are being disingenuous in trying to pretend that this recommendation was just a lark, something to stir up community involvement. At no point in time did Hrbek indicate that this was the case. Even if I give you that point, it was still a reckless act to throw that out there when you know there are employees who are listening. "Oh, good joke Mr. Hrbek! That will really get their attention!" Well, it did. And he got the reaction he deserved (although I think you are absurd to insist that this is precisely the reaction he was expecting).

      So yes, I think that you trying to gloss over Hrbek's colossal clusterfudge or attribute it to the inane drivelling of Tederick is, well, the very definition of disingenuous.

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    Probably irrelevant, But does FRPD have anyone that stays on top of grant information from the federal and state levels and applies for said grants? Possibly freeing up money spent on something the government is already willing to pay for?

    Its not an answer to the current problem, I was just curious if FRPD had anyone that stays on top of that avenue of funding?

    Why doesn't the council do what is right and raise the real estate taxes .02-.05 cents the asessed vaulues of the houses in Front Royal. That should raise enough for the pay raises for the police officers and then some.

    Mr. Ratigan should stay out of this thread. He is a candidate and therefore biased in his opinion. Even though his comments and suggestions do make some sense.

    I'm a taxpayer AND a homeowner. I would have no problem paying higher taxes to insure that I have police protection, someone to come fix the electric when needed, pick up my trash and snake out the sewers.

    If people move to Front Royal (or stay here for that matter) because they think they will never have to face the reality of a tax hike, then they live in the land of Oz...because its the ONLY place its happening.

    Get realistic and take a step people. Since its been pointed out to me that the council are what holds up this process, lets hear from you members...WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT THE PROBLEM????

    Do I need to get involved in politics just to keep my basic rights to service in this town?

    I guess I will just go to the next town meeting and see what they have to say about this. If they won't back the police department, where else are they willing to cut services for us?

    If everyone on here would show up and press them to make decisions, maybe we could give the PD raises, put them in a place thats not shameful (remember Warren County is moving to all new digs) and they would stick around and form the basis for a great new town...it IS the 21st century you know!

    I think the problem is that people are interested but frustrated that there is not a forum the get issues out on the table for the candidates to respond too. The Chamber forum was weak as usual in really addressing past voting records of the incumbents and the position on issues of the new candidates. The last several post have been insightful. Here are some issues to ponder.
    The incumbents approved increasing the money from the electric fund from $1000000 to $1600000 to cover general fund expenses due to the lost revenue from 522 corridor.
    The incumbents approved the borrowing of $1500000 to purchase private real estate for the new Town hall from the electric fund.
    The incumbents did not fund raises for the Town employees.
    The incumbents negotiated a water deal with Dominion Power that continues to place the citizens of Front Royal in a position to pay for providing water to the county.
    The incumbents stopped the moving of the Town elections to nov.
    The incumbent's support of the "new direction" has resulted in the leaving or firing of many of the key Town
    staff.
    The election is just around the corner and I hope that
    people will continue to talk about these important issues
    facing our Town and chooses the best qualified candidates to lead our community.

    Thank you bluebird

    Few people will read through the many comments this subject has generated. The loss of 'good' employees is usually a matter of leadership and economics. With so many people leaving the employ of Front Royal since Mike Graham was terminated without cause the finger of blame can be pointed directly at the political cesspool of Front Royal. Namely, Mayor Darr and Councilmen Holloway, Lauder, Tharpe and Sayre. Unfortunately, Tharpe and Sayre will still be around after this election but hopefully a clear message will be sent. The taxpayers of Front Royal deserve and expect the quality of leadership for which our taxes are paid.
    Regardless of who I vote for, I will be voting against the current political climate.

    Caveman, here something else to ponder.
    Who recommended that the Council start taking money from the electric fund to make up for the lack of 522 corridor revenue ?
    Answer, Matt Tredrik as the Chairman of the Blue ribbon committee.
    Who appointed Matt to this committee from the council?
    Answer, Hollaway.
    Who were the main elected officials that were involved in putting together the 522 agreement 10 years ago.
    Answer, Tedrick Athey, Carter
    Who is Hollaway"s cousin?
    Answer, Carter
    Who is running the show?
    Answer,guess???

    I am a resident of Front Royal and have worked at the hospital for over 20 years. I have witnessed first hand the dedication and professionalism of members of the Front Royal Police Department. I have read with disgust the many political statements made on this thread and it disgusts me!!! This thread is about a program that would alleviate the bleeding of personnel from the police department. This thread is about a program that will benefit the Town of Front Royal monetarily by retaining officers after the Academy and beyond!! When you the citizens, which includes you the Mayor and you the Town Council and you the Democrats and you the Republicans and you the Independents, call (540)635-2111 because you need help - the police department does not care who you are or what you represent - they are there to deal with the issue at hand!!
    Yes, Front Royal has issues. I am so tired of hearing about donuts and speedtraps and that the police department could better spend their time on "real crime" instead of picking on me - REALLY??? Citizens, where are you when there is an infant that dies unexpectedly or gets sexually assaulted? Where are you when an officer has to spend 4 hours with a mental patient? Where were you all when the investigators spent 7 days searching for the remains of a little girl who perished in a house fire several years ago? I witnessed the anguish and emotional stress of those PEOPLE who would not give up and spent between 12-15 hours a day in the pouring rain, sifting thru the debris, to find that child!! I have witnessed first hand the gentleness of these officers to listen to a 3 year old tell them that someone had raped them and then the determination and vehemence to go after the perp!! These PEOPLE are spit on, assaulted, threatened, guns and knives drawn on them, and told they are nothing but donut eaters!! REALLY? Do we devalue the people who serve us in our most dire time because we don't know better or because we can?? Maybe because you feel you will never need their service - that attitude that "it will never happen to me!" will get you in the long run!! Citizens I beg you to step up and support this program!! It's needed, it's good business, it's time!!

    Facebook

    I don't know how people keep reading into the comments as "anti-police" or some sort of lack of care as to whether or not Front Royal has properly trained and compensated officers.
    Again, it IS the elected officials that approve the budget, or say "no, we can't" while funding something less relevant. Note, that it is not just the police department having a high turnover rate..there is almost always a posting for the treatment plants.

    Ultimately, for the most part none of our comments here hardly even matter. The only effect we can have is to vote against those that have made Front Royal a place no one wants to work, and look for others that can turn that around and keep F.R. not only a competitive place to work, but one worth the sacrifices made.

    Froro, great comments. Let's group several other departments that work just as hard and dedicated to their jobs as the police . Tha electric dept put their life on the line in the worst possible conditions that is very dangerous. The water sewer people are out in the bad weather fixing water mains while we are warm in our homes. The public works and trash collectors remove the snow, fixes our roads and picks up our trash with min notice from the public. All the people that work for the town has an important roles and be treated fairly. It starts at the top with leadership and the guts and a vision moving forward. Short term thinking is killing us. I don't think you will find this in the current town leadership. They had their opportunity the last 2 years and has failed. Major decisions have to be made now which includes how we take care of our emplyees and bring good paying jobs to Front Royal.

    Out of these 65 people that have commented only about 14 votes will be cast because they are the same people that talk to themselves over and over again. And i think these folks only want to become a new good old boy. Just food for thought.

    My point was that the article is about the Front Royal Police Department and the action plan to keep its good officers!!! It isn't a time for Ratigan and whoever to grandstand politically! This article should be about supporting a department that has put the effort forth to do something actively instead of complaining and whining and waiting for someone else to do something!!! I say kudos to the people who are trying for a viable solution!!!!

      You say it is not a time for Candidates to Grandstand. I don't see it that way at all. The Only Candidate that seems to be speaking is Rattigan. Maybe we should read what he has to say? No one else (candidates) seems to be speaking and that concerns me. Does it concern you too?


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