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Approval of a final city budget that includes $39 million in ongoing cuts and the elimination of 320 city positions is expected at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, but Police Department personnel aren’t holding out hope for an 11th-hour save from potential layoffs.
“The council is firm on its decision,” said Det. Mark Tyndale, Sacramento Police Officers Association (SPOA) vice president. “And we are firm in ours.”
On June 7, City Council members urged SPOA representatives to consider contract concessions for its members in an effort to relieve the burden of deep budget cuts that will have a significant impact on the Police Department and public safety personnel.
The SPOA has not made any move toward the negotiating table, however, and, according to Tyndale, union representatives have no desire to do so.
“We expect a last-minute call from the council or the city manager’s office, but it’s a not a phone call that we are going to make,” Tyndale said.
Referring to concessions the Police Department made during budget negotiations in 2009, Tyndale said that, “two years after the fact, the council has shown that they aren’t going to back up what was promised back then.”
In 2009, the union made concessions on delaying raises for department personnel for three years. Those concessions resulted in approximately $12 million in savings for the city, Tyndale said.
“We don’t believe the council will approach us (now) in good faith, and we aren’t going to open our contract to be betrayed again,” Tyndale said.
During discussion of potential department cuts at the June 7 council meeting, Councilman Steve Cohn offered a motion that would allow the City Council to use one-time funds from the Economic Uncertainty Reserve (EUR) to match pay and benefit concessions from the police and fire departments up to a total of $4 million.
The motion failed on a 6-3 vote.
“It wouldn’t have solved the problem,” Tyndale said of Cohn’s motion, “but (SPOA) would have seen it as a good-faith effort.”
Tyndale said that union members were more disappointed in how the vote was divided than the fact that the motion failed.
“Council Member Darrell Fong’s vote stings the most,” Tyndale said. “He came from our department. He knows us. He said he’d be there for us.”
Fong, the District 7 representative and a former police captain, responded in an interview Monday that, although he understands that SPOA members are upset, he stands behind his vote against the matching funds motion.
“Cohn’s motion was to give both police and fire money from the emergency reserves fund,” Fong said. “Hitting the one-time reserves isn’t something I want to do. We have to show some restraint.”
Fong, who said he will direct his City Council salary for the 2011/2012 fiscal year to the Police Department’s budget,
declined his $60,800 city council salary when he was elected to the council in 2010,
was quick to point out that both civilians and sworn officers will be laid off if this budget is approved.
“It was a tough decision I had to make,” Fong said. “I made it clear that everyone – not just police, not just fire, but everyone – needed to come together to resolve the deficit we face.”
Fong said that, going forward, he’s looking for changes that will restructure the city and avoid future deficits.
“Services have to survive, even if they’re reduced,” Fong said.
The City Council will meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 915 I St., to finalize the budget for 2011-2012.
Read the City Council meeting agenda here.
Editorial Note: A correction has been made to this story after it was published. The incorrect information has been struck out and the correct information has been added.