Admin fee raised 50% to cover $2.7 million for Director James Shea’s JCPD off-duty jobs program

An ordinance increasing a fee associated with off-duty policing by 50% to cover $2.7 million for supervisors and administrators – while simultaneously increasing Director James Shea’s power over the program – was unanimously passed at the November 24, 2015 Jersey City Council meeting.

Director James Shea, second from the left. (PHOTO: AWEN Group)

Director James Shea, second from the left. (PHOTO: AWEN Group)

(NOTE: The original article was updated to clarify details.)

The Jersey City Council, to no objection, unanimously passed an ordinance, absent Councilman Daniel Rivera, which increased a fee paid by contractors for off-duty police officers by 50%.

In specific, the administrative fee was raised from $8.00 to $12.00 per hour to cover $2.7 million for administrators and supervisors.

While being questioned by Ward D Councilman Michael Yun, Business Administrator Robert J. Kakoleski explained that the increase was necessary because taxpayers were filling a funding gap in the program.

“Because the administrative fee being as low as it is, it has not been enough to cover the supervision,” Kakoleski said.

“The taxpayers who have not had off-duty officers have lost $800,000 this year because we haven’t had enough funds to cover it. So we are correcting a wrong, the people who are taking advantage of the off-duty program will be responsible for paying it – not the taxpayers who are not having police officers assigned.”

Upon further questioning from Yun, Kakoleski said the police supervisors cost about $1.8 million the previous year, and that the administration of the program should’ve been another $700,000 to $800,000.

Kakoleski also made it clear that Public Safety Director James Shea oversees the program, and explained that an amendment granting Shea more influence over determining staffing was designed to save money.

“The [public safety director] will determine the staffing based on the needs out there so that the taxpayers don’t take a loss,” Kakoleski said.

The previous ordinance language stated that “One (1) off-duty Superior Officer must be assigned for every twelve (12) off duty Police Officers deployed.” The amendment changed that language to “Off duty supervisors will be assigned to supervise the deployed off duty officers in accordance with the policy established by the Public Safety Director after ensuring sufficient funds are available.”

Below is video of Yun questioning Kakoleski:

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