I am going to make an obvious statement. At some point in the future, whether it be 3 days from now or three years from now or 30 years from now, Ralph Orr will not be mayor. When that time comes, jackets will still be given out, Bingos will still occur, people will get help during emergencies, and families in need will still get assistance. In short, the world will go on.
How am I so sure this is true? Because all of these things were done when the last mayor was in office and the mayor before that was in office. The face of who is doing the work changed, but the act itself has not. So, to base a vote on things that literally every single person with the title of Mayor has done just does not seem like a good idea to me.
I do consider that in the past 10 years, tens of thousands of dollars in state grants for children’s activities has been available through State Representative Thaddeus Kirkland’s office. All that had to happen to get the money was for the mayor to write up a proposal and ask for it. How many times has Orr asked for that money? Zero. Not only has Orr refused to ask Kirkland for grants, he actually reduced the amount of grant money coming into the borough. Supporters like to talk about Orr’s work with the W.I.N. Committee. W.I.N. Working in Neighborhoods. It was a committee that started well before Orr was mayor. Guess where the money came from? Among other places, Thaddeus Kirkland’s grants. When Orr became mayor, he stopped attending meetings, which resulted in the grant money going away.
More than the community projects listed above, the Mayor has one primary responsibility. The police force. When it comes to the police force, don’t be fooled for one second as to why it has been short staffed for so long. Ralph Orr made a calculated decision to use part-time officers instead of hiring full-time, union member officers for one simple reason. It is far easier to “boss around” and control the part-time officers. The part-timers are “at will” employees, meaning that they could be fired for looking at a tree the wrong way. Because Orr lacks the ability to build a consensus or to be able to handle anyone disagreeing with him, he had to have officers whom he could easily control. Had he hired full-time union officers, he would have had to work with them, and the union, instead of talking at them.
Heck, even in the meeting in December when Bill Stewart motioned to hire two new police officers, Orr practically fell out of his chair screaming that he was in charge of the police force. Orr shouted, “No, we don’t want that,” in the hopes to sway members of Council to agree with John Pappas and Danielle Thompson who voted against hiring a full-time staff.
Don’t take our word for it, though. Go to Borough Hall and ask to listen to the audio recording of the meeting. It is public record.
After Orr reads this post, he is going to say things like,“Let me turn around so you can pull the knife out of my back” or “You see? I am not a bad guy” as he talks about jackets, turkeys, presents, and Bingos. He is going to victimize himself and try to deflect attention away from the police issues. He is going to blame Council (“I don’t do the hiring. Council does”) in the hopes that you will forget that it has only been within the last 6 months that a real divide amongst the councilors has occurred. For the past 9 ½ years, he had the support of at least four members of council, so he could have gotten passed any decision he wanted to pass. He had the votes. All he had to do was ask. He chose to go with part time officers, eliminate the bike patrol, and pay “chiefs on leave” for the vast majority of his time. He can’t explain why he has done this, so he will deflect away from these decisions.
Since the “great divide” 6 months ago, Bill Stewart, Karen Reeves, Despo Tatasciore, and Dave Paterson have pushed to find and hire 3 new full time police officers with 1 more on the way. Orr had nothing to do with it. Again, don’t take our word for it. Go to Borough Hall and review the tapes from December and January. Reeves and Stewart are easily heard arguing with Orr, Pappas, and Thompson.
Why did the bike patrol go away? Orr will tell you because there was no funding. You mean to tell me that a few thousand didn’t exist to pay a few people during the summer months for a few hours? There has been a surplus at the end of each calendar year for at least the past 5 years. And I am not talking a few dollars. I am talking $50,000+ in surplus. One year, we bought a new highway truck at the end of the year and still had $58,000 in surplus. The bike patrol wasn’t too expensive. In reality, Orr did not like that the FOP insisted that full-time officers be given preference over the part-timer officers for those extra shifts. So, rather than deal with the union’s request, Orr took an “I’ll show them” approach and nixed the entire program
Who better to run a police force than a retired police officer? Does Allen have flaws? Sure he does. What human doesn’t? Even though Ralph Orr has been mayor for 10 years and Allen Reeves has never been elected, the moment Reeves takes office should he win, he will still have 13 ½ years more experience in policing. If anyone can set the right tone and direction for our police force, it is Allen Reeves. Reeves is endorsed by the F.O.P. Lodge 27. That's a pretty impressive endorsement for a challenger to recieve when running against an incumbant.