"From my perspective, I'm not comfortable with making the decision on their hiring based on what tier they're get into for their retirement," Cunningham said.
He also said that the hiring process was started in August, before Tier V had been passed, and that the officers were being hired to fill two budgeted vacancies in the department, the existence of which was running up extra overtime costs for the town.
Councilman and supervisor-elect Sam Messina said that he recognized the necessity of a good police force, but also proposed holding off appointment of the three men until Jan. 7.
"I don't think that will impact the new officers very much, but it sends a signal that we're fiscally conscious," he said.
When the vote came, however, Messina voted to appoint the officers effective Dec. 27, as per the drafted proposal.
He later said that he didn't want jeopardize the hiring of the officers, who he felt were exceptional candidates for the job.
"I felt that the smart thing to do for our townwas to support the three positions," Messina said. "I don't know what that would have done for the future opportunity to hire them."
The three officers were sworn in by Cunningham on Monday, Dec. 28, and will attend the Zone 5 Regional Law Enforcement Academy from January until June, when they will be assigned to the patrol division.""