An ordinance doing away with the deputy police chief positions at the Union City Police Department was passed at the Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday at Jose Marti Middle School.
Union City Mayor Brian Stack said the change will save the city approximately $300,000 yearly. That number includes the salary, pension, benefits, and other costs associated with the position, he said.
“What we have tried to do is streamline all departments, especially the Police Department.” – Mayor Brian Stack
Stack added that the city has been trying to save money where it is possible, especially in the current economic climate.
“What we have tried to do is streamline all departments, especially the Police Department,” said Stack. “At one time, Union City had two deputy chiefs. Then, we were down to one. This will eliminate the rank of deputy chief with the emphasis on putting more officers out on patrol.”
Stack also said he has worked closely with Police Chief Charles Everett to save money and make the department even more effective. He added that with the savings, the department may be able to put five more police officers on patrol.
The mayor also mentioned that Deputy Police Chief Joe Blaettler recently retired.
Liquor licenses suspended
The commissioners also approved suspending the liquor licenses of nine local bars due to violations, including selling alcohol to a minor, serving a minor or intoxicated person, permitting a fight or disturbance on the premises, and not having a valid employee license.
Some towns have a separate Alcoholic Beverage Control board to hear license violations and to vote on license purchases and transfers, but in towns like Union City, the local governing body makes the decisions.
Regarding the penalties, Stack said, “This is again keeping in tune with what we have been trying to do with the quality of life and improving the quality of life in our community.”
Caribe Club Restaurant, at 727 24th St., has the longest suspension, 60 days, from Jan. 12 to March 12. It was the only establishment charged with allowing, permitting, or suffering unlawful activity pertaining to controlled dangerous substances.
The remaining eight bars have had or will have their licenses suspended between 10 and 20 days, according to the Union City Board of Commissioners’ decision. They include: Manhattan Bar & Grill Restaurant, at 1711 Manhattan Ave., for 20 days, from Jan. 1 through Jan. 20; El Cuco, at 514-516 Kennedy Blvd., for 15 days, from Jan. 27 through Feb. 10; Therapy Lounge, at 2803 Bergenline Ave., for 10 days, from Jan. 27 through Feb. 5; Bergenline Avenue Wines and Liquors, at 3819 Bergenline Ave., for 10 days, from Feb. 2 through Feb. 11; Variedad Latina Restaurant, at 4417 Bergenline Ave., for 10 days, from Feb. 3 through Feb. 13; Good Times Liquor, at 1314 New York Ave., for 10 days, from Feb. 5 through Feb. 14; Power Liquor, at 1001 Bergenline Ave., for 10 days, from Feb. 11 through Feb. 20; and Payano Wines, at 1411 Summit Ave., for 10 days, from Feb. 16 through Feb. 25.
The commissioners also discussed the emergency response to the recent U.S. Airways plane crash into the Hudson River. Several members of the Police Department, along with the mayor, were at the scene on the New Jersey riverbank. Firefighters from the regional department and other emergency personnel also helped in the rescue effort.
“To see everyone come together makes you really feel good about living in the area, living in the country that we live in,” said Stack.
An individual who responded to a separate emergency situation was also recognized at the meeting. Angelica Mercado, the North Bergen resident who rescued a man from a burning oil tanker last November, received a senatorial citation from the mayor, who is also a state senator.