Mayor Marc Tartaro last night avoided to discuss aspects of next year's budget for the Hyattsville City Police Department. But the move pushes back final approval of next year's budget by at least one week.
"The closed session will not be necessary at this time," said Tartaro. "That issue is moot."
After the meeting, expanding on his "moot" comment, Tartaro said that he had met with senior city staff, including City Treasurer and Acting City Administrator Elaine Stookey and Police Chief Doug Holland, earlier in the day. Among the topics they discussed was a resolution to the
The dispute centered on a discrepancy between police personnel classifications called for in two different budget measures. In mid-April, the city council approved a police department budget which laid out a 32-person patrol division split between six sergeants, seven corporals and 19 privates.
However, –which consolidates all previously approved department budgets, revenue expenditures and capital improvements under one measure–. That measure calls for eight sergeants, three corporals, two acting corporals and 19 privates.
When objections to the changes were raised by Tartaro proposed that the council discuss the issue behind closed doors.
When asked what form a resolution between the two sides might take, Tartaro was mirthfully guarded.
"Stay tuned to Monday night," said Tartaro, laughing, in an interview after the meeting. "But we met, I do meet with senior staff about once a month. There were five of us, and it was very productive. It wasn't just simply about the acting corporal issue, which seems to be, more than anything else, a miscommunication in the budget process."
"It was a productive meeting, and I believe we are all on the same page," continued Tartaro.
Also removed from last night's agenda was a discussion of police promotional process. The item was also removed from the agenda to get more information said Tartaro during the meeting.
Because the city council did not revisit the police budget issue during last night's meeting, they also did not take up a second reading of the omnibus budget ordinance. The budget ordinance in its current form only requires one more council approval before it becomes official.
With each week, , which begins on July 1. If a budget is not approved by that time, then the city will shut down, similar in many respects to a shutdown of the federal government. The city treasurer will have no authorization to spend any money.
"If we do not pass the budget on May 21st, okay, then we have to redo the ordinance to make it an emergency ordinance because we don't have the requisite time to do the ordinance," said Tartaro "If we don't pass the second reading on the 21st, the council needs to provide some guidance on why they don't want to pass the budget, and speak as a whole….they need to come up with a plan that will pass."