Council calls special session as layoffs loom closer - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Council calls special session as layoffs loom closer

By Corey McConnell - bio | email
Posted by Trina Edwards - email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - With citywide layoffs, including 138 police officers, expected to take effect on Sunday, all those on the cut list are awaiting a ruling from a local judge that could save their jobs.

Meanwhile, there are three meetings scheduled for Friday to discuss the issue. Council did not formally talk about the jobs cuts during their regular meeting on Wednesday.

The first meeting, called by Leslie Ghiz and Chris Monzel, will take place on Friday morning at 10:30 a.m. A city finance committee meeting, led by Laketa Cole, will take place Friday afternoon, to be followed by a full council meeting at 4 p.m.

The public packed City Hall on Wednesday, demanding answers.

"I have another number - zero. That's the amount of confidence I have in you as mayor," FOP president Kathy Harrell told Mayor Mark Mallory during Wednesday's council meeting.

Harrell took on each of the five majority member of council - Cole, Roxanne Qualls David Crowley, Greg Harris and Cecil Thomas - for not working harder to save the jobs of 138 officers who will be let go on Sunday.

Police Chief Tom Streicher has said that concessions would save jobs, but that's not an option for the FOP.

"How can I get my membership to vote for concessions when the city has the money and they can chose not to do it to save jobs," said Harrell.

The FOP and CODE unions hired accountants to look at the city's budget, and those accountants say there is money in the budget to save the jobs, but the city says they used "flawed logic" to come to the numbers.

After the minority members on council -  Ghiz, Monzel, Chris Bortz and Jeff Berding - unveiled a plan to save jobs on Tuesday, there is word that the majority members have a plan in the works.

"We are working behind closed doors trying to find common ground with our FOP representation," said councilman Cecil Thomas.

On Thursday, Monzel called for Mallory and the five majority members to reveal their plan and to "discontinue playing games with the future of police officers and their families."

"I am discouraged and disheartened that the Mayor was unwilling to discuss or even allow a conversation about potential solutions to the police layoff crisis," said Monzel. "If he and his council-majority really have a plan, then let's see it."

Unless Judge Ralph Winkler decides to issue a restraining order to stop the layoffs, or a plan can be agreed upon by a majority of city council, the layoffs will go on as scheduled.

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