Massive overtime and salaries aren’t warranted

City Council needs to take a hard line at expenses

■ Colleen Swinhart / Contributed

Dear Editor,

I think it is a blessing in disguise that Chief Dave Brown wishes to leave the Hemet Police Department. There is no comparison of the crimes committed in Hemet vs. the crimes committed in San Jacinto as listed each week in The Valley Chronicle. Why are we paying his salary of more than $300,000 a year when crime has not declined, but instead has steadily risen? It is truly time he moves on. It’s just a shame that he waited to announce his departure until after Measure U was passed, because he was the driving force behind it.
Maybe prior City Council member Shellie Milne was right when she was the only council member that voted for Hemet to use the County Sheriff’s Department. I agree with her and think it is time that consideration is given to doing something other than pay for outrageous overtime for our police department. If Chief Brown has hired more officers, why is the overtime still so out of control? The Hemet City Council should seriously consider contracting with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. It looks like they are serving San Jacinto just fine.
On another note, why would our esteemed City Council members even waste their time talking about paying $50,000-$60,000 annually for upkeep of the median that Caltrans is planning to construct along that 8-mile section of Florida Avenue? Is this a joke? We do not need plants on the medians! Caltrans will fill in the medians with concrete and that is good enough. Let us spend dollars on more important matters. This city is broke and almost bankrupt; we need those funds in the coffers.
The council members have wasted too many taxpayer dollars and really need to think before acting on some of the things they have, for instance, paying outrageous amounts to all the ex city managers, not to mention the lawsuit where more than $400,000 was spent to defend an off-duty assistant police chief who lives in Murrieta and where the incident took place. He is going to be our next chief of police? Why? Is it simply because he has the title of deputy chief of police?
It’s high time these council members who supposedly represent us think about the future of Hemet and its citizens, not shoot from the hip and react to ill advice, like legal counsel who is supposed to serve the city’s best interest rather than his own legal firm.
In my humble opinion, I think it’s high time to think about replacing this city council with a team that will truly have the best interests of Hemet residents of in mind before it is way too late. Maybe, this swamp needs to be drained, too. I can hardly wait for the next election.

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