RUMFORD – A budget reduction of $90,000 and the loss of two Police Department patrol positions this year has prompted a departmental restructuring calling for more patrols by sergeants and creation of two corporal positions.

The union representing police approved reopening the contract to allow the changes.

Chief Stacy Carter said Tuesday that the finalized contract is in the hands of American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees leaders in Augusta. Officers here are represented by Local 1828-01.

Among operational changes linked to the $824,000 budget are supervision and changes in shifts.

“It’s a win-win situation under the circumstances,” said Carter, who noted the level of service was lowered by eliminating two officers.

Sergeants will work 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. shifts, the same as patrolmen. Because of the changes, there is less overlapping of sergeants and patrolmen.

To provide for supervision, two patrolmen will be promoted to corporal. Sergeants will also be required to perform more patrol duties, leaving less time for administrative work, said Carter.

He said sometimes during peak times of incidents late at night, sergeants often provided a third officer. With the loss of two officers, that won’t be available because the sergeants will be in the patrol rotation.

“When we’re not able to respond as quickly, we’re hoping the town will understand,” Carter said.

Promotions won’t be finalized for at least a month, he said.

Because of the changes in duties, small salary increases were approved: 65 cents per hour for sergeants, 35 cents per hour for corporals, and 10 cents per hour for patrolmen.

“Structurally, this allows a supervisor on each shift, which we lost with sergeants on patrol. It also allows a chance for advancement for patrolmen, which is important when talking retention,” he said.

He said negotiations on a new three-year contract will likely begin in the spring. The changes already agreed to are an addition to the existing contract.

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