MASON CITY, Iowa- The city of Mason City and the police department are looking to shake things up when it comes to the ranking structure of officers.
Starting July 1, no sergeants will be hired and they will be dissolving the position once the current sergeants have retired or been promoted.
“I won’t be happy about it, but I would ask if his job was available,” joked Paul Grouette, a former iron union worker.
We asked Grouette to put himself in the position of a union member of the Mason City Police force.
“I would think that if you are taking a rung out of the ladder so to speak that it would eliminate any opportunity for a patrolman or rookie officer to be promoted,” he said.
There are six sergeants on the Mason City force. Three of them have applied for the five open Lieutenant positions.
“I really don’t see a downside to this,” said Mason City Police Chief Jeff Brinkley.
Chief Brinkley says the sergeant position is hourly; they get overtime. They are also called upon to oversee other union officers. Brinkley says that’s a recipe for lawsuits. He had to settle a bunch of lawsuits when he became chief.
“There could be indirect causes to those or things we could have done differently as we provided oversight or supervision to different processes in the department,” he said.
But Brinkley concedes the restructuring isn’t a popular idea on the force.
“The uncertainty of the new schedule is really the challenge, and I think that’s where many people of hung their hat and say this won’t work,” said Brinkley.
However this plays out, Grouette hopes officers will continue to serve and protect.
“I wouldn’t want their job, who does,” he said. “They are always having to be vigilant, they are always on-call, you never know what is around the corner in the world today,” he said.
Brinkley says they finished up interviews for the five open lieutenant positions Friday.