Mayor vetoes $750K expenditure on school police officers

Nathaniel Herz

Mayor Dan Sullivan has vetoed a single $750,000 line item from the city's 2014 operating budget passed by the Assembly, which would have gone to pay a portion of the costs of police officers that work in schools during the school year, and for the city during the summer.

The 17 officers cost the school district about $3 million a year. Assembly members, led by Dick Traini and Elvi Gray-Jackson, wanted the city to cover half of those costs, to reflect the fact that the officers worked in the city during the summer, and provided other services outside schools during the year.

Sullivan vetoed a measure sponsored by Traini and Gray-Jackson, and instead let stand a different amendment that puts $750,000 toward the police officers -- which he said is an "appropriate" amount, given that he said the officers are working outside of the schools for about one quarter of the year.

Sullivan said the veto would save a corresponding amount of taxpayer dollars, even though the school district will still have to pay the officers. That's because the district -- which is facing a budget shortfall -- would not have decreased its overall spending even if the city had covered the full $1.5 million that the Assembly was proposing, Sullivan said.

"They would have spent the money on other things," Sullivan said.

The Assembly can overturn Sullivan's veto, but that would require a vote of eight of 11 members, and only seven members supported the original measure.

Reach Nathaniel Herz at or 257-4311.