Newark mayor, police dir. talk to EWN about layoffs

November 22, 2010 3:46:40 AM PST
With a Monday deadline looming, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Police Director Garry McCarthy spoke to Eyewitness News about avoiding 167 police officer layoffs.

Booker says the scheduled layoffs of 167 city police officers can be avoided if police union members approve a newly brokered plan.

Booker says he is calling on the Fraternal Order of Police's leadership to send the proposal directly to members for a vote. He said the city would delay any layoffs until Nov. 30, so union members could review the offer.

This one year proposal seeks to eliminate officers' uniform allowance, stress pay, and reduce overtime, replacing it with compensatory time, to prevent the layoff of 167 police officers.

Mayor Booker noted that firefighters and several other government employees are already making similar concessions.

The City expects to save about $9.5 million through this proposal, which would prevent the layoffs and help close the City's 2011 municipal budget gap.

FOP president Derrick Hatcher told The Star-Ledger of Newark that he would call an emergency meeting of the union's 34-member executive board so it could decide whether to float the proposal directly to the union's roughly 1,033 members.

He said the board's vote could come as early as Tuesday.

Hatcher also said that the mayor had turned the issue with the department into a "circus".

Booker called that comment "unfortunate", and said that in a budget crisis it's not the time for contention it's the time for cooperation.

Police Director Garry McCarthy responded to claims that the streets would be less safe with the layoffs, he said that there would still be the same number of uniformed police officers on the street, there would just be a restructuring of the staff and deputy chiefs would head up the precincts.

Newark is facing an $11 million budget gap.

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