The Recorder – Veteran Greenfield officer lands job in Erving in wake of price range cuts

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ERVING — Within the wake of controversial police price range cuts in Greenfield, 24-year Greenfield Police Officer Laura Gordon has been appointed to hitch the Erving power as a full-time patrol officer.

Gordon, who accomplished her final day with Greenfield Police final week, revealed in a collection of Fb feedback that she started the hiring course of with Erving after consulting Greenfield Mayor Roxann Wedegartner. Erving Police Chief Robert Holst stated at Tuesday’s Selectboard assembly, the place Gordon was formally appointed, that she has “been wonderful” by way of her initiative all through the hiring course of.

Acknowledging her 31 complete years of expertise as a police officer, Holst and the Selectboard agreed to nominate Gordon to a one-year contract with a July 1 beginning date and a higher-than-typical beginning wage of $29.03 per hour.

Greenfield metropolis councilors made cuts to the Police Division’s proposed fiscal 12 months 2023 price range throughout a Could 19 assembly. These cuts included $400,000 for salaries, bringing the wage line all the way down to $3.1 million, and $25,000 in bills, bringing the expense line to $275,000. The budgetary choices got here simply two weeks after a jury verdict discovered the Greenfield Police Division and Police Chief Robert Haigh Jr. discriminated towards former Officer Patrick Buchanan, the division’s solely Black officer on the time he was denied a promotion in 2014.

Gordon’s husband, performing Greenfield Police Chief William Gordon, beforehand defined that due to union obligations, any cash lower from the salaries and wages line merchandise within the price range would consequence within the layoffs of essentially the most not too long ago employed officers. These officers are prone to embrace Brendan Smith, Adam Belville, Marcus Johansson, Jedadiah Henry, Matthew Llewelyn and Nicholas Limoges. William Gordon stated beforehand that his spouse submitted her discover for a depart of absence, to final a interval of 1 12 months, from the Greenfield Police Division to avoid wasting Officer Ella Sinigur’s job.

“After a lot soul looking, I’ve determined to step away from my duties as a Greenfield police officer so {that a} junior officer, who would in any other case be furloughed due to current price range cuts, can stay on the power,” Laura Gordon acknowledged in a metropolis press launch on June 10. “Essentially the most tough a part of this choice is the sensation that I’m letting down the individuals of Greenfield and the proactive strategy to group policing to which I’ve devoted my profession, however I firmly imagine that is one of the best plan of action for the way forward for the Greenfield Police Division.”

“I respect Officer Gordon’s choice, however I additionally deeply remorse it as I’ve informed her,” Wedegartner stated within the assertion. “Officer Gordon’s absence from the Greenfield Police Division is not going to solely be felt by her colleagues, however by our complete group.”

Laura Gordon has not responded to repeated requests for remark concerning her potential new place in Erving. William Gordon stated his spouse doesn’t wish to communicate to the information media presently, citing current social media criticism and a need to not compromise her relationship with Erving’s Police Division.

Whereas in Greenfield, Laura Gordon has served as group useful resource officer since early 2021, as town appeared to shift its focus extra to group policing. Gordon stated in February 2021 that she loves having face-to-face interactions with the general public, whether or not she’s with one among her consolation canine, speaking with homeless individuals, feeding those that are hungry or listening to a enterprise proprietor.

“I hike trails the place I do know I’ll run into sure populations,” she stated on the time. “I wish to verify on them and ensure they’re secure. I attempt to get them providers, in the event that they want them.”

Given her 31 complete years of expertise, Erving officers mentioned what is perhaps an acceptable wage earlier than deciding on $29.03 per hour — a Grade 2, Step 14 fee, ought to Laura Gordon settle for.

Holst initially advocated for Gordon to start out even greater, however Selectboard member William Bembury expressed concern over the prospect of a newly employed patrol officer incomes a wage similar to — or better than — the wage of an current sergeant inside the division.

“The rationale for my questions is I wish to be truthful to the officer and I additionally wish to be truthful to the sergeant,” Bembury stated. “I want to compensate her for 31 years of service, however for a one-year time period of employment, I can’t see doing that at the moment.”

“Whereas we want to do extra if we might, we wish to be cognizant of the price range and the taxpayers, and attempt to discover stability there,” Selectboard Chair Jacob Smith added. “Sadly, it will not be on the degree she had as compensation in Greenfield, but it surely’s about one of the best we are able to do.”

Holst responded amicably, projecting that this compromise ought to suffice.

“I feel that’s beneficiant, gents,” he stated to the Selectboard. “Simply the dialog that I’ve had along with her, I feel she’ll be pleased with that. I can’t see her not.”

Smith expressed pleasure concerning the prospect of getting a veteran officer be a part of the ranks of Erving.

“It’s a uncommon alternative, no matter how lengthy — assuming she accepts — she stays with us, to have somebody with that type of expertise to be with us,” Smith stated.

In a Fb remark, Laura Gordon stated the transition between departments will contain a multi-faceted adjustment for her.

“Both manner, this might be a monetary change for my household,” she wrote, “and emotional for me as a result of I’m leaving a group I’ve constructed relationships in for twenty-four years.”

Attain Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or jmendoza@recorder.com.

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