City officials officials have asked police to accept eight furlough days to prevent the layoffs of nine officers and a dispatcher.
The city can demand layoffs but cannot mandate layoffs of its public safety employees, Commissioner Dave Vanaman said. At City Hall, employees are taking a 10 percent pay cut across the board and also have changed to a state health care plan to save money.
The last thing we need at the present time is a decrease in manpower on the streets. It seems that the concessions the city is asking for are reasonable. The county leads the state with the highest unemployment rate, near 14%. About a dozen city employees have been laid off. The rest took a 10% pay cut.
It is unreasonable for the police to be demanding pay increases far in excess of the cost of living increases during this time of a major recession(they demanded 4.75% up to 5% increase per year for five years, ending in 2011 - that is a roughly 25% increase on a base salary).
The city offered 3.5%, which is generous during a time when many are losing jobs. It is time for true solidarity, for the police union to be looking out for ALL of the officers, and to make concessions. During the years of plenty, you got what you wanted. Now it is time to put public safety first.
The city's offer seems more than reasonable to the many people looking for work, and more than reasonable to the many in this county that have recently joined the ranks of the unemployed.