POLL: Who Do You Think Is Responsible, Tulsa Mayor Or Police Union?
By Emory Bryan & Chris Wright, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Tulsa FOP local 93 has voted against pay cuts overwhelmingly as the union said they would prefer layoffs to reduction in pay.
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A member of the FOP told The News On 6 that turnout was extremely high and the vote was 583 against the proposal, 66 for pay cuts.
Mayor Dewey Bartlett had some harsh words for the union after the vote.
"This was the best offer for the safety of the people of Tulsa. The union has decided to put their interest ahead of those they serve. This is regrettable," Bartlett said. "Given their decision, we do not foresee any problems with being able to provide the public safety our citizens deserve. The people of Tulsa were let down tonight by the very people they hired and trained to protect them."
The layoffs mean nearly 20% of the Tulsa Police Department will be out of a job Friday evening. The last 155 officers hired will be the first ones laid off.
Those officers received their layoff notices last Friday. That means the seven day requirement will be met Friday and by Monday will be off the payroll unless there is a change of heart by the Mayor.
That seems unlikely as he has already agreed to the city worker's union opinion poll where they also voted for layoffs over cuts by a more narrow margin of 73%.
Sixty-five city workers are also on their last week on Tulsa's payroll.
The 90% landslide vote also makes it seem the Firefighters Union may be less likely to approve for cuts over layoffs.
Though the two votes are unrelated and their are differences in how the negotiations were handled, the Firefighters proposal is similar to what the Police Union just shot down 9 to 1.
Wednesday there was a new dispute over the rejected offer.
It has come down to some numbers in the mayor's proposal that the union says are not correct.
The city of Tulsa disputes that, but the confusion has made the FOP even more skeptical, they believe if took the cuts instead of layoffs, they may still of been asked to give up even more.
"The membership of course is very upset," said Ryan Perkins, FOP Local 93 Trustee.
It's was latest flash point for the police union in their disagreement with Tulsa City Hall over how to cut the budget and maybe the final nail in the coffin for a proposal that seemingly had a very narrow chance of succeeding from the start.
Mayor Dewey Bartlett gave the union an option of salary and benefit cuts to avoid layoffs but the union not only didn't like the offer to them, but said the numbers did not even add up.
"It becomes incredibly difficult for us to continue, to think that this mayor is negotiating in good faith," Perkins said.
The problem is with a grant the city thought would cover salaries for 58 officers. The city's calculations apparently left out benefits, a difference of $800,000.
The city of Tulsa's finance department was going back over the numbers, trying to see what happened and what could be done about it.
The mayor's office says absolutely the numbers are correct. They say if the union took the salary cuts, there would be no layoffs.
The program is in the use of a U.S. Department of Justice grant funding for the police department involving 58 officers.
Mayor's Dewey Bartlett's proposal included eight more furlough days and a 5.2% salary cut for the next year and a half.