Mayor Bartlett: Prepare For The Larger Cuts, Cut From Top, Middle As Well
By Emory Bryan, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Mayor Dewey Bartlett says departments need to plan for the larger of two possible cuts, and layoffs on January 15th.
The cut will shave $10 million dollars off the city budget. It comes with the cost of losing firefighters, police officers and other city employees while some who remain would take major pays cuts.
When the larger cut was first considered, the unions said it would cost 300 jobs.
The mayor wants fewer people cut but just as much savings so he's asked departments to reorganize so some of the cuts will come from middle and upper management.
Mayor Bartlett says it wouldn't be good policy to keep everyone on the payroll while the city budget crumbles, even if that means cuts to police and fire.
The News On 6 asked, "Are you saying we have police officer and firefighters, other people at city hall, that we don't need?"
Mayor Bartlett said, "I'd said there are some positions that are not necessary; I think that's a true statement."
Bartlett says to be fair, he's asking departments to reorganize as they cut - so layoffs would come throughout the ranks.
The firefighters union says that means layoffs for as many as 60 firefighters, and cuts in pay for many more.
Stan May of the Firefighters union said, "Well there will be about 50 or 60 demotions, actual demotions, and along with that demotion will come a pay cut, for some of the guys, $12-to-$14-thousand a year
The deep cuts are planned as the police officers union starts an online public relations campaign to show the faces of officers who would lose their jobs.
Ryan Perkins, Fraternal Order of Police, said, "We want the citizens to see that's what's going on here, we're potentially losing 2nd and 3rd generation police officers and firefighters."
Bartlett said he would not consider dipping into utility payments or putting off city equipment purchases so the money could go into salaries.
The News On 6 asked, "Will you consider any transfer of equipment costs into salaries?
"No not at this point, I think that doesn't solve our problem, it really doesn't," Bartlett said.
Whatever reorganization plan the departments make, the money part of it has to go through the city council and the unions have to agree to pay cuts or layoffs.
There is considerable disagreement between the administration, the council and the unions about what to do.
Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police -- http://www.tulsafop93.org/
Tulsa Firefighters Local 176 -- http://www.tulsafirefighters.org/