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Cost-cutting moves cause grumbling

September 26, 2012

PAWTUCKET — With the next year's budget process underway as well as contract negotiations, two recent moves in the Pawtucket Police Department that the chief and city officials say are necessary have caused grumbling among the rank and file.
Last week, a low-key promotion ceremony was held at City Hall for two Pawtucket Police officers. Detective Capt. Paul Catarina was elevated to major of administration, a position that had been vacant, and Lt. Tina Goncalves was promoted to captain.
Police Chief Paul King said the promotions were part of a staff reorganization that was intended to streamline supervisory duties and gain cost savings while maintaining a high level of service to the public. Under the reorganization, the Police Department will have three separate and equal divisions: Patrol, Detectives and Administration, all reporting directly to King.
King has said while the promotions of Catarina and Goncalves will cost about $10,000 in pay differential resulting from their new ranks, the reorganization will save taxpayers a total of approximately $187,055 due to other vacancies that are being left unfilled.
What is different from the usual way Police Department promotions work is that these two elevations in rank did not prompt a chain of five or six other promotions down the line that typically occurs. No one was promoted to captain or to lieutenant from the lower ranks to replace Catarina and Goncalves, and there was no movement in the patrol division.
King said that due to shifting some responsibilities, the number of supervisory positions has been reduced by two, from 37 to 35. He said that, given the city's tight budget, he suggested filling the vacancies that he thought were the most necessary to streamline the department.

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