Tulsa Police Union To Offer Mayor A Budget Counter Proposal
By Dan Bewley, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- The Fraternal Order of Police said Tuesday it has a budget counter-proposal ready for the mayor of Tulsa.
Tulsa FOP President Phil Evans says he can't talk about the details of the union's proposal, but he hopes to have it in the mayor's hands by Wednesday evening.
Mayor Dewey Bartlett says the city needs to cut $3.4 million from the police budget to make it to July 31, the end of the fiscal year. His plan includes the elimination of pay for continuing education, cutting bonuses for officers who speak a second language and requiring the entire department to take a 7.5% pay cut. If it doesn't happen, the mayor says, 135 people will lose their jobs.
The police union says the mayor's office has not been open to negotiations, at one point the FOP compared the mayor's proposal to extortion. The FOP even sent a letter to Mayor Bartlett, dated January 13th, the same day the mayor outlined his plan.
The union told the mayor they "...want to explore with you ways to balance the budget..." and "...meet with your staff members who prepared the proposal..."
The FOP says they had no response from the mayor's office.
But Terry Simonson, Mayor Bartlett's Chief of Staff, told Six in the Morning's Latoya Silmon, the union needs to present an offer in writing and denies that the mayor has turned his back on the police union.
"That's incorrect. We have given them the same message last week that the mayor met... put it in writing. If you have an idea, put it in writing. Don't do it in a press conference, or press release, or the union hall, that's fine. But we need something in paper back to us, just like we gave it to you," said Terry Simonson, Mayor Bartlett's Chief of Staff.
Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Bartlett told The News On 6 he is looking for other ideas, but says the union hasn't brought anything, officially, to the table.
"I've told them time and time again, that we only have a really short period of time, that they need to make some decisions and we have not yet been informed that they're of a mindset to talk about that yet, so we're waiting," said Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett.
The News On 6 typically doesn't report rumors, but we have received several e-mails saying the Kaiser Foundation has offered to donate money to the city and the mayor has refused. But a spokesman for the Kaiser Foundation told The News On 6 that is not true, there has been no offer to the city.