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Sylvan Lake

April 23, 2013

SL City Council votes on temporary manager, police chief merger

By Sherri Kolade
C & G Staff Writer

SYLVAN LAKE — Sylvan Lake City Manager John Martin will have added responsibilities on the job after City Council members unanimously voted to temporarily merge the city manager and police chief positions April 10.

City Council member Eucharist Cassar was not in attendance during the meeting.

The decision to merge positions came after Police Chief Mark Silver announced his May 31 retirement during a March 13 City Council meeting; he served the city for 13 years, including eight years as police chief. The positions will remain consolidated until a new police chief is found.

Mayor Michael Zubrzycki said there is no set date for hiring a new chief.

“There’s no timeframe for finding a new chief,” Zubrzycki said in an emailed statement after the meeting. “We don’t want to set an artificial goal. We will give ourselves enough time to find the most qualified individual. When we finally post the position requirements, all qualified candidates will be considered.”

Zubrzycki said Martin’s next endeavor is to ensure continuity in the department.

“It is not uncommon in smaller cities to have the city manager head multiple departments,” he said.

Martin said Silver and the city arrived at the decision by mutual agreement. He told the Beacon in an emailed statement that the temporary merger will save the city about $50,000.

Martin said a pay increase has not been discussed for his added responsibilities.

He said that, with his new position, he is directly responsible for the Police Department and its officers.

“We have great officers who are very good at their job, so I’m not worried about the day-to-day operation,” Martin said. “We will be reviewing all aspects of the department, though. The changes that we will be considering will be to benefit the residents of Sylvan Lake and the department.”

Martin said outsourcing was a plausible option before, but now it is not.

“In the past, City Council has discussed outsourcing the department and various positions within the department,” he said. “As of now, I believe the consensus of City Council is to keep our own department and deliver the highest level of service at the most economical cost. That is an easy statement to make, but finding that perfect balance between cost and service is not easy to achieve.”

Martin’s new title is the director of public safety.

“I am working with the current officers, reserves and other agencies to come up with a hierarchy for the department with individuals having specific duties and responsibilities,” Martin said. “All of these things will be morphing, as time goes on, until we find the best solution for our department and residents.”

Zubrzycki said that, with the merger, the city will still have the same level of protection.

“Residents should be assured that the Sylvan Lake Police Department continues to provide full coverage with current staffing levels,” he said. “We have a complement of full-time, part-time and reserve officers that provide (24 hours a day, seven days a week) coverage.

“We recognize that the residents voted in favor of a public safety millage back in 2011, so we keep that in mind when making any decision that affects the police and fire,” Zubrzycki said.

Learn more about Sylvan Lake at (248) 682-1440.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Sherri Kolade at skolade@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1046.