Toledo City Council Tuesday approved minor changes to the 2012 budget that allow the Bell administration to offer a test to police-officer hopefuls.
Among the changes proposed by the Bell administration -- and approved 9-3 by council -- was a $287,919 allocation for "human resources modernization" and $37,541 for a fire inspector position.
Voting against the revisions were councilmen Tom Waniewski, Steven Steel, and Adam Martinez.
The city's human resources director, Ellen Grachek, urged council to approve the increase so she could hire three people to help with employee relations, selection, and training. In the fall, the city plans to recruit a new police class of 40, followed by a firefighter class of 30 trainees in November. In December, the city is to administer a mandatory police exam to an estimated 3,000 people to create a list of future candidates for the city's police force. Ms. Grachek said about $88,000 would pay for the costs associated with administering the exam -- including printing, renting the SeaGate Convention Centre, and contracting an evaluator.
Mr. Waniewski tried to cut the spending request and offered an amendment that slashed about $98,000 from the human resources allocation, along with $37,541 for the fire inspector position.
His idea was shot down by the other 11 members of council, who all voted against his proposal.
Mr. Steel said he voted against the revisions because he preferred the changes be "fiscally conservative." Mr. Martinez said he also disagreed with some of the Bell administration's changes.
Also Tuesday, council unanimously accepted a $1.87 million "COPS Hiring Program Grant" from the U.S. Department of Justice to hire 15 police officers over three years.
Candidates must have been discharged under honorable conditions from active military service, and served at least 180 consecutive days in active duty that began on or after Sept. 11, 2001. There "is at least a 25 percent local match required to receive the grant," according to city documents. The maximum three-year federal contribution is $125,000 per officer.
The city must have at least 596 sworn officers for four years from the time it accepts the money. As of last week, the Toledo police force numbered 574.
Council also unanimously approved modifying the city's tax code so Toledo can keep its share of taxes on winnings at the Hollywood Casino Toledo.