New public safety position to be created in Waterloo - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New public safety position to be created in Waterloo

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -- We're learning more about Waterloo Mayor Buck Clark's re-organization plan for the city.  The mayor is appointing a director of safety services.  Of course this comes after Fire Chief Doug Carter was re-assigned to the position of captain last month.

Dan Trelka has only been at the helm of the Waterloo Police Department for about 8 months.  But soon, he could be taking on the added responsibility of being the city's first safety services director.

"It's not going to have too much of an impact on the police department, and really not too much of an impact on the fire department either.  Because on the fire side, all I'm going to do is assist them in managing some aspects of their department.  I'm not a firefighter.  I'm not going to be a fire chief.  I'm just going to be there to assist them," Chief Trelka said.

Mayor Buck Clark says the new position is aimed at cutting city spending.

 "The normal, first thought that comes to mind when you look at trying to save money in particular departments is to lay off people at the bottom down, basically to cut services or cut programs.  And to date, I'm not willing to do that," Clark said.

Instead, by eliminating only the fire chief's position, the city estimates a savings of at least $100,000.  However, both the fire and police departments will have leaders who will serve as assistants to the director of safety services.  But the exact duties of the new positions are still to be worked out.

"This is not something that I'm modeling after another city that I know of.  This is something that we're working through, and there is no doubt that there will be glitches in this, bumps in the road we'll have to overcome because it's a new program," Clark said.

Mayor Clark stressed the changes will not affect how emergency responders provide service to the community and does not mean the police and fire departments will be combining.  The effort is simply a means of trying to make the city run more efficiently while saving some cash.

The new safety services director position will go before the city council for approval at the January 3 meeting.  Mayor Clark says he wants to try this new management model for a year.  If it doesn't work, the city would be willing to return to the old chain of command, with separate chief positions.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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