Rutherford mayor proposes axing chief position

Mayor John Hipp is proposing to replace the position of Rutherford police chief with a civilian position.
The job was vacated in December when the previous chief retired. Hipp's plan calls for the creation of an $82,000 salaried position of civilian director to oversee the department. Many of the department's officers believe the move would weaken the force's leadership and morale.
"It eliminates four promotions overall," says 33-year veteran Capt. George Egbert. "All aspire to be chiefs someday."
The mayor says his proposal is a response to budgetary problems. Rutherford can't afford the $182,000 salary that accompanies the police chief title, according to Hipp.
Both the department and mayor agree the change would not affect the public's safety. The proposal will be voted on in February. If passed, the new civilian director will not be allowed to make arrests, carry a weapon or have access to confidential information.