Layoffs continue in Allen Park

By ANDREA POTEET
Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK — The city’s scheduled 22 layoffs were slated to be completed Saturday.

Seven police officers and dispatch workers were laid off July 18, as the first wave of the layoffs outlined in the city’s $21 million 2011-12 budget got underway. Two more were laid off before that date. The positions include five officers and three dispatchers.

The remaining positions were expected to be cut by Friday, City Administrator David Tamsen said Tuesday.

“I will make a commitment that every individual who is being contemplated to be laid off will receive notice by the end of the week,” he said.

The promise came after Councilman Larry Templin voiced concerns that the Police Department cuts were made before other city positions, including part-time jobs.

“Right now, we’re laying off police officers,” Templin said. “They are taking the hit. We’re jeopardizing public safety to keep part-timers here. It doesn’t make any sense.”

Five firefighters, five union employees, a deputy clerk and the mayor’s secretary are also scheduled to be laid off under the budget which went into effect July 1, and cuts are also expected in the Recreation Department. Tamsen said those cuts will occur once the recreation director returns from vacation.

Tamsen said the police officer cuts came first because they were the first department able to coordinate their scheduling with less people.

“We are moving as fast as the departments can tell me that they can function (with fewer people),” Tamsen said.

Templin responded, saying city officials saw the layoffs coming and should have been preparing for them before the new budget was adopted.

“This should have started July 1,” he said. “We’re 1 percent in the first two weeks over budget. Send that up to the whole year and that’s 25 percent over budget. That’s $5 million, which I know we don’t have.”

Allen Park Police Officer’s Association President Jeff Miller said he was perplexed as to why police officers were being cut first, as they had already made concessions in their closed contract in 2010, including switching from eight- to 12-hour shifts, forgoing a scheduled 2 percent pay raise, and cutting more than $250,000 in overtime.

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