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The Olean Common Council approved payment Tuesday for 170 hours of police overtime in December but sent the department a strong message to reduce the number of hours.

Ward 2 Alderman Robert Kent, chairman of the Police Committee, complained that Police Chief Patrick E. Brandow continues to submit large overtime pay requests and has ignored the mayor and aldermen.

The Council voted 6 to 1 to transfer $4,189 from contingency funds to pay the overtime bill, the fourth such request in as many months.

Ward 1 Alderman Kathy Searles voted against the transfer after voting against a motion to suspend the rules to allow the measure to be placed on the agenda late.

During a Police Committee meeting prior to the Council session, aldermen blamed 10-hour shifts, the practice of training police during off-duty hours and scheduling procedures that cause crews to be "short" due to illness, injury or vacation.

"There are 39 policemen out there, and that should be enough to go around," Kent said.

In a Dec. 10 memo, Brandow stated 30 hours of overtime would be needed to fill "short crews" in December.

The memo's itemization also listed 50 hours for court attendance and arrests, 16 hours for New Year's DWI patrol and 14 hours for meetings.

The list also showed overtime for 17 hours travel and 33 hours training in connection with a Dec. 10-11 Breathalyzer recertification course in Jamestown.

Mayor-elect James P. Griffin said a November request included 300 of hours overtime for officers to patrol parades.

The expenditure is anticipated each month, but aldermen earlier this year placed the money in the contingency fund to better scrutinize and control the overtime.

Griffin has asked Brandow to report his requests in advance but complained the itemization arrives too late in the month for the Council to control costs. He asked Kent to hold Police Committee meetings earlier in the month to discuss the requests prior to Council sessions.

"I want January's (report) to the Council ASAP and all other months to come earlier," Griffin said.

In another matter, a move to establish a new charter commission failed to come out of committee in a 4-3 vote. Alderman Gary "Casey" Jones sponsored the measure to reopen issues surrounding a full-time mayor and the addition of two at-large aldermen in the city's four-year-old charter.

He, Kent and Ward 7 Alderman Richard Say voted yes. Griffin, Searles, Ward 5 Alderwoman Paula Snyder and Ward 4 Alderman Robert Sader voted no.

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