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Tulsa FOP Refuses Further Concessions From The City

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Three of the 21 Tulsa police officers laid off last week are still unemployed. Three of the 21 Tulsa police officers laid off last week are still unemployed.
About 200 officers turned out for Wednesday's meeting of the Fraternal Order of Police. About 200 officers turned out for Wednesday's meeting of the Fraternal Order of Police.
Mayor Kathy Taylor says that earlier vacation requests from officers could reduce overtime costs. Mayor Kathy Taylor says that earlier vacation requests from officers could reduce overtime costs.

By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The City of Tulsa is offering two options to the three Tulsa Police officers who were laid off last week.

One option is with Tulsa Public Schools. Superintendant Doctor Keith Ballard offered to employ the officers for 22 weeks or until the city is financially able to rehire them. That job, however, would be without benefits.

The other option is two open positions as airport officers, both positions with benefits.

It's up to the three officers whether or not they want to take the jobs.

Meanwhile the Mayor Kathy Taylor continues to work on other solutions as the Tulsa Police union stands its ground on any concessions.

Related Story 11/5/2009: Mayor Announces Two Job Options For Laid Off Tulsa Police Officers

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A decision made by the Fraternal Order of Police at Wednesday night's meeting means there won't be any changes during this budget crisis.

"The overwhelming consensus was that there will be no further concessions," said Philip Evans, Tulsa FOP president.

Evans says the meeting was heavily attended; about 25% - or 200 - of their active officers were present.

But it is the police officers that the City of Tulsa was forced to lay off last week that are at the center of it all. Twenty-one were laid off in all but 18 were rehired on Monday. And three are still unemployed.

"Emotions are very high. We want to get these three back," FOP President Philip Evans said.

The money to rehire the officers won't come from officers giving up their take home squad cars. Evans says the police cars are part of the employment compensation package and not a perk.

"It's a money situation, and we've urged the city to look for more stable funding sources to provide for essential public safety services," Evans said.

Mayor Kathy Taylor says the solution lies in scheduling. She says that Police Chief Ron Palmer believes that if he had earlier notice of vacation days, he could better manage the over time. And that could save enough to rehire the officers.

"The frustrating thing for me is we have a way to solve the problem that only requires people to plan a couple more days in advance, and it wouldn't take any money away from anyone - and that's the best solution, frankly," said Taylor said.

The FOP has not yet returned calls concerning the vacation issue.

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