Official layoff notices have been sent out to members of the Millville Police Department, as part of the municipal government's plan to share financial pain across all city departments in order to avoid a tax increase next year.
Police Benevolent Association Local 213 President Anthony Loteck earlier this month criticized the city commission for its plan to lay off public safety employees, stating the police department is already four short of its goal of 87 officers.It is time for the police union to stop playing games and make some tough decisions. For instance, if the police union agrees to negotiate rather than pay hardball, perhaps the jobs could be saved. Perhaps a furlough day, as distasteful as I find the method, could save some jobs.
Our local economy will not be helped by adding to the unemployment rolls. We already face a 14% unemployment rate in the county. Over 40 city workers saw pinks slips this week already, and there are no new jobs to be found. The city workers that did keep their jobs all saw a reduction in hours worked. For those on a tight budget, barely making mortgage payments as it is, these cuts might be the tipping point of even more foreclosures. But 90% is better than zero%.
For the good of the community, negotiations must begin in earnest. We need to keep good cops in Millville, and we need to be in a position to attract more new cops when hiring. Firing cops to save a few dollars is not the path to accomplish this.