Cincinnati Police, fire, other workers face major layoffs

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email
Posted by Richard Todd - email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati City Manager Milton Dohoney announced a budget proposal Monday that would close a projected $51 million budget deficit next year, but at the cost of hundreds of city jobs.

"It is difficult to make a decision to take someone's job," said Dohoney. "And I've said it before it's not something I take lightly. But when you're talking about $51.5 million where your expenses are up here and your revenue is down there, something has to give."

The budget's 315 layoffs would include 112 police officers, 47 firefighters, 39 AFSCME workers, 13 members of the middle managers' union, 91 part time workers, and a few other full-time non-union workers.

A newly elected council majority has opposed cuts in police positions, but any jobs saved in one area are likely to be reflected in more jobs lost in others, as a big portion of the city budget goes to salaries.

"I don't think there was a need for concessions in '09," said FOP president Kathy Harrell. "I can tell you that it will be very difficult to sell concessions in '10 to our police officers. Our 1,113 members gave up almost 1,200 from their paychecks just to save 138 for four months."

"By the end of next year, we could be running 6-8 companies short -- everyday," added Marc Monohan, president of the Cincinnati Firefighters Union. "So obviously it is going to increase response time."

The cuts would also include savings from shutting down various city facilities and programs. A 10 percent slash in spending would mean closing 20 pools, reducing recycling pick-up to twice a month, and there would be a new charge of $10 for garbage collection.

Union representatives say they're hopeful the new city council members won't approve this proposal.

"My message to the city employee is just to hang on. It's probably going to be a rough ride for a couple weeks," said Diana Frey, CODE union president.

Dohoney says balancing the budget without the lay-offs would only mean everyone pays more in the end.

"If we have to find other cuts, we'll do as we're directed, but it will come with a tremendous impact," he said.

The proposal is not a done deal. It will head to mayor and city council members for approval, with only a few more weeks to submit a balanced operating budget before the new year begins.

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