CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Cincinnati City Manager is saying nothing about a pending budget, that could spell layoffs for hundreds of city workers.
We've told you about the cuts the Fire Department is already facing. Now police are looking at layoffs, demotions and pay-cuts to make budget.
How does the city plan to keep us safe in the new year?
The Police Union President Kathy Harrell said she's hearing Council may not even see the budget until right around Thanksgiving. And, with the Mayor leaving for Beijing and the holidays coming-up fast, the big question is, will there be enough time to squeeze-in, getting input from the police members, community leaders, and pass a budget that keeps plenty of police and fire on-board. And, getting all this done, before the new year.
"Our members want answers," Harrell said. "Our members are calling us with concerns, citizens, community leaders are calling and we don't have any answers because Council has still not been given a budget."
And that Harrell said, is frustrating for union members to hear, that Council hasn't even received the budget to start pouring over it, when so many jobs could be at stake in now, less than 8 weeks.
"We started this process last year in May and on December 21st," Harrell said. "Council was still taking votes on how to balance that budget and whether or not people were going to be laid off."
As many as 144 officers could be laid off, with almost as many looking at demotions and pay-cuts to stay afloat.
"And that's the thing people need to keep in mind," Harrell said. "The Police Administration can give to the City Manager, any recommendations that they want, but that is not to cut the budget, make the budget, balance the budget."
Harrell said once City Council receives that from the Mayor, with recommendations from the City Manager, it will be ultimately up to City Council to decide what those numbers are.
"To expect for them to get it done in a month," Harrell said. "I just think will be a very hard task and a very hard job to do. I'm not saying don't get panicky, I'm saying, you might want to start calling Council members, letting them know, that hey, you made certain campaign promises to get my vote, and if you don't keep those campaign promises, which was the priority of public safety, you're not getting my vote next November."
Harrell recommends getting on the phone, writing an email and letting your Council person know you are worried. Because, between the police, fire and sanitation workers facing layoffs, "Keeping You Safe" in Cincinnati in the new year, will be full of challenges.