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Lt. Jankowski says he couldn't have stepped down to sergeant, likely to retire

Lt. Eugene Jankowski is coming to grips with the fact that his 34-year career with Batavia PD is probably drawing to a close.

He hasn't officially announced his retirement yet, but that's probably what he will do before his job as a lieutenant is eliminated April 1 as part of department restructuring.

"I'm glad I was given the opportunity to serve for 34 years," Jankowski said. "It's been good for me. I love what I do and I hate to leave it. It's not about the money. It's never been about the money, but now's the time to find another worthy cause. I'm still young enough to go out and find another worthy cause."

Jankowski disputed a report coming out of Monday's city council meeting that he, along with Lt. Jim Henning and Lt. Greg Steel were offered a chance to stay with the department if they would each accept a demotion to sergeant and that all three turned it down.

None of them, according to Jankowski, has reached a final decision yet.

Henning and Steele are off duty at the time of this story posting so we can't reach them for comment.

For Jankowski, becoming a sergeant isn't even an option. If he accepted a demotion, it would be to patrol officer.

Under civil service law, when a job/rank is eliminated, the employee is offered the job he or she held prior to promotion. For Jankowski, that was patrol officer, not sergeant.

"If it were a sergeant's position, I might consider it," Jankowski said.

City Manager Jason Molino said he wouldn't discuss with a reporter personnel issues and what may or may not have been communicated between city supervisors and the lieutenants.

According to Jankowski, the lieutenants were told they would not be considered for the new deputy chief position.

"We don't know why," Jankowski said. "He didn't give us a reason. He said we won't put anybody in the deputy chief position until you're long out of here."

Molino said that once the position is created, probably after the budget is approved in February, any qualified personnel -- including the lieutenants -- in the department could apply for the job.

If they retire before the job is created, then they won't be eligible for the position.

The three lieutenant positions will be reallocated, creating two new patrol positions and one sergeant's positions.

"The plan is, you're going to have more guys on the street than you have now," Molino said. "With more officers in the field, there's more contact with the community."

The deputy chief position, which will be non-union, will be an increase by one the number of sworn members of the department. 

The restructuring is expected to save the city $10,000 a year.

Jankowski said he doesn't understand why the city wants to eliminate all three lieutenant positions at once. Why not, Jankowski wondered, stagger the retirements over three years so those experienced supervisors would help mentor the new deputy police chief?

"Why would you eliminate 100 years of experience like that?" Jankowski said.

Police Chief Shawn Heubusch is proving a great asset to the department, Jankowski said.

"I like the chief," Jankowski said. "He's going to be great. I like him. He brings out the best in guys. I wish I could work with him longer."

Jankowski, a competitive shooter, isn't sure if he will stay in New York after he retires. He's concerned that gun ownership rules being changed by Albany politicians will make competitive shooting in the state all but impossible. Some ranges, he said, will likely shut down. Limits on magazine size and changes to rifle scopes are big concerns, he said, for competitive shooters.

The changes to the police department don't make him mad, Jankowski said, but the changes being considered in Albany certainly do.

Cheryl Wilmet
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Sorry to see any of our police officers leaving because of $10,000 in savings to the city. The police in Batavia are the best. Lets see, the police have to cut $10,000.00 by losing three experienced officers and the City Council gets a raise. What is more important?

Ted Wenzka
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Cheryl - Naturally the City Council getting a raise is more important.than our safety.

Mary E DelPlato
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Who sayeth we demote the city manager to a mayor?

david spaulding
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eugene,thanks for your service...after 34 years you probably need something new and less dangerous to do.
i suggest taking the pension and start out with some fishing,then maybe a nice vacation.enjoy yourself and your family.batavia will still be here.............

John Woodworth JR
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Really getting rid of three (03) BPD LT positions for 10K. How about getting rid of the bonus paid out to Genesee County Business Council. That would save more than 10K. How about people stop wasting Police Officer's time to remove a cat from their porch because, the cat said, "DO NOT PASS GO OR COLLECT $200!" Why waste Police Officer's time when you can take a boot and remove the cat so much easier and for far less. Can't believe that was an issue yesterday on State Street.

Bob Harker
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Mary, I think a promotion to private citzen is more appropriate for Mr. Molino.

Exactly how much was your raise, Mr. Molino?

Christopher Putnam
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Just another example of whats really important to the city. Not the police, not the common man, not our safety. Just their bottom line. Maybe we should have kept the police officers, and NOT built a useless, stupid "peace garden" thing in the middle of downtown. I bet that cost 10k. Maybe we could get the money from GCEDC, they seem to have plenty of money to toss about.
You can kiss my tax money goodbye NY, as well as many others, Im moving because your so concerned with the few, that your screwing the many. I will not register my weapons, EVER. I will not be disarmed and rely on your protection. LAWS punish criminals AFTER i have already been made a victim, My GUN, prevents me from becoming a victim in the first place.
Criminals are called such, BECAUSE they dont care about, or follow laws. Make all the gun laws you like, criminals DO NOT FOLLOW THE LAW. DUH!!!!!!
The only thing that stops an armed criminal, is an armed citizen. Fact.

Richard Richmond II
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GOOD LUCK GENO AND GOD BLESS! I’ll see you Saturday morning at Fort Niagara.

Lincoln DeCoursey
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It's unfortunate that Batavia PD isn't in able to re-align through normal attrition. Loss of experience is hard to absorb for any organization, and to make a point of eliminating top cops rather than considering them for a newly-forming deputy chief position is weird. But restructuring is a strategic thing. It may mean retaining a key up-and-coming guy by leapfrogging him into leadership rather than going with the (soon to retire) next-in-line guy. A lot of cops never make lieutenant in their career.

Forcing career employees into demotion or early retirement is not particularly cool, but everything needs to come under scrutiny in our current economy. From the latest report on the PD website, there was about one management position (sergeant or better, including the chief) per two patrol officers.

The restructure will produce a net increase of two patrol officers, which sounds like a win to me. Who's to say that it doesn't make sense?

Bottom line, if Batavia needs more cops on the street today, and there's currently a surplus of cops in the office, one way or another some cops may need to be re-aligned to the street.

John Roach
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Didn't know the other two, but knew Geno and liked him. I am sure he'll stay busy and now he has more time for his historical reenacting.

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