Two city unions that did not agree to make concessions in order to save jobs may yet come around.
Mayor Art Ward said Thursday he hopes both the police and the "outside workers" unions will take another look quickly and opt to give back raises in return for avoiding layoffs or other changes.
Ward said he won't lay off any police officers because of public safety considerations and the reality that taxpayers just got done shelling out big money to train the newest recruits, who would be the first to go if layoffs are made.
Instead, Ward said the city might lay off civilian members of the department or it may opt for more creative options. He declined to talk about other possibilities until the city can sit down with the union and detail its thinking.
After it hears the alternative, the mayor said, it will have "a very short window" to consider concessions instead. He said he hopes it will rethink its position.
"The economyis such that measures have to be taken," Ward said.
Keeping more officers on the street should also help hold down overtime, the mayor said, which is a crucial step toward controlling the department's budget.
The mayor said that Local 1338 of Council 4 of the American Federation of State, Countyand Municipal Workers may take another look at making concessions soon. He said he hopes its members will take the step needed "in the very, very near future" to avoid layoffs.
Local 233, which represents the "inside" workers, accepted a wage freeze for the coming fiscal year in return for a no-layoffs promise. The supervisors association also accepted a freeze.
Ward said the $170 million budget slated for approval tonight will freeze property taxes and slice 14 jobs from the city payroll permanently. They've remained vacant for many months as part of the spending reductions ordered a year ago, the mayor said.
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