Posted By Tom Plahutnik, Web Editor/Producer - email
Saginaw Mayor Greg Branch
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -
Saginaw's mayor is speaking out about a plan to cut from the public safety departments in the city of Saginaw.
Some officers have already received pink slips and time is winding down, and on top of it, the community is not happy about the developments.
Saginaw Mayor Greg Branch says the city should look at other options.
"I don't think we can function at 55 officers," said Branch.
Branch spoke out against a plan that would downsize the city's police department to 55. He fears this could become the reality if the county sheriff doesn't agree to take over the city's police department. The plan involving the sheriff, if adopted, calls for more than 80 officers to patrol Saginaw streets.
"I've said before that I would not sign off on a budget with 55 officers because I don't think it's safe," said Branch.
Currently the city is looking at two plans to police the streets. One would have the Saginaw County sheriff take over the police department. The other would reduce the police force down to 55 officers. The mayor says he thinks the city needs to look at more than just those two options.
"The other options that are really the meat and potatoes of what we're going to be able to do on the expense side really have to come from the labor side," said Branch.
Earlier this week, police union officials challenged City Manager Darnell Earley for stronger dialogue on the budget crunch issue.
"The problem is, he'll send in his negotiators, but he always has the final answer, which is always 'no,'" said the police officer's union president.
In the meantime, the mayor says he hopes any plan that comes together will keep staffing levels close to where they are right now.
The deadline for this is a lot closer than originally thought. Any agreed upon plan would go into effect this July and must be figured out by April, which is when the city budget has to be handed in.
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