City workers defend budgets; jobs before Cincinnati City Council

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19)  - City workers facing the loss of their jobs packed City Hall Tuesday night to make their case. Mayor Mallory says there's no way to balance the budget without laying off 315 employees, but one union representative says there is.

Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher told City Council on Tuesday he knows a way to help balance his portion of the $353 million budget. FOP union President Kathy Harrell says it doesn't include cutting 112 police jobs.

"Of course, overtime," Harrell said. "There is certain amounts of contractual overtime that has to be paid, but there's also $7 million in overtime that was given in 2009 that we believe we you look at 2010, if it's not there, if council takes it, we'd rather you take the overtime and keep the officers on the street."

Dozens of workers from several departments including parks, planning and buildings, and public services turned out Tuesday night to defend their programs and their employees.

"Since 2000, we've lost over 633 jobs," said AFSCME union representative Peter Mclinden. "So in the departments we represent, we've become more efficient and more effective in delivering our services to the public. Whereas when you look at other positions, you don't see the same efficiencies.

AFSCME stands to lose 39 positions.

Many AFSCME members sat, stood, and waited for their chance to fight for their jobs before Council. Yet, by the end of the night, many told us that this meeting was only a slap in the face.

"After police presented, Ms.Ghiz, Bortz, and Berding got up and left," said public services employee Charles Dorcas. "We also have our responsibility, too. We're important, too. And it seems like some of them don't get that."

The public has two more chances to weigh in. The next public hearing is Wednesday at Hircsh Recreation Center at 6 p.m. The second meeting will be at Pleasant Ridge Recreation Center on December 15th.

Council member Laketa Cole said she wants council members to comb through all of the budget information and comments by December 11th so that council members will be ready to present their ideas at the last public meeting on the budget by December 15th.

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