The Cicero Police Department welcomed part-time officer Andrew DeGirolamo to the force Friday Oct. 15.
Town officials approved the new hire during the town board's regular meeting Oct. 13. The hire comes on the heels of Sgt. Andrew Scherer's retirement on Aug. 31.
"He's a young kid. He graduated from college in 2008," said Police Chief Joseph Snell.
DeGirolamo graduated from the police academy and now holds two other part-time officer positions, one with the North Syracuse Police Department and the other with Chittenango's force. According to Snell, in New York a part-time officer can only work 20 hours a week at any department and since DeGirolamo is often scheduled far less than that with the other departments it gives him the opportunity to also work with Cicero, where he was born and raised.
Councilor Jessica Zambrano said she was "shocked" when Snell requested the hiring of a new officer as the town is in a financial bind.
"If anyone has taken a look at the budget, the town is in severe fiscal crisis," Zambrano said. "The chief has been asked to make additional cuts to [the police department's] 2011 budget."
The 2011 preliminary police department budget is 3 percent under the 2010 budget with more cuts to come, which was being worked on Thursday afternoon, Snell said.
Zambrano also said justification for a new officer was requested from and provided by the chief.
Snell said there are two cost savings from hiring part-time officers, the first being part-timers don't get health insurance, which is a large part of a lot of municipal budgets.
The second part of the equation is, in order to reduce overtime costs, the department has to have sufficient part-time officers to come in and cover shifts.
"When full-time officers take vacation or personal leave we have to fill that slot," Snell said, adding one what to fill the slot is with a part-time officer who is paid straight time as opposed to a full-time officer who will be paid time and a half.