Some TPD jobs saved
BY BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
Saturday, January 30, 2010
8/15/10 at 8:08 AM
Read the police memorandums of understanding that saved 31 officers’ jobs and the
documents that firefighters are voting on.
The number of Tulsa police officers who were laid off Friday dropped from 155 to 124, bringing 31 officers back from the brink.
Mayor Dewey Bartlett signed the memorandums of understanding previously approved by the police union for officers to give up the take-home vehicles going outside the city and to give more notice to use compensation time. The provisions extend through the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.
Those, along with some recent police resignations and the money that would have gone toward the officers' payouts of vacation, comp time and severance, will provide enough savings to keep extra officers on the force for at least five months.
The number of officers whose jobs were saved went from a low of 22 in the morning to 31 by afternoon, as city officials continued to crunch the numbers.
Some learned their jobs were safe only when they went to the Tulsa Training Center to turn in their badges and equipment and seemed stunned at the last-minute development.
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 93 Trustee Ryan Perkins said that while he was happy the officers will remain on the force, he criticized the administration for the way it was handled.
"These MOUs have been in (the mayor's) hands for some time," Perkins said. "I'd like to know how long this has been planned because (these) officers have been needlessly worried about their jobs."
Bartlett said: "If the officers wanted more certainty, they should have accepted my proposal, which would have saved all of the jobs. It's pretty incredible that they are getting irritated, when we are working to keep the jobs and they already made a decision to terminate 155."
Earlier this week, 91 percent of the police union's membership took part in the 24-hour vote and 90 percent of those who participated rejected the mayor's 17-month proposal that would have saved all the police jobs.
It called for a 5.2-percent salary cut, eight unpaid furlough days next fiscal year, eight-hour work shifts and other concessions.
A key component of that proposal was to use $2.4 million in Justice Assistance Grant money for police salaries, if the use was approved by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Bartlett said he and interim Police Chief Chuck Jordan will be reviewing the grant money, which is already in hand, to determine whether to try to hire back some officers with it or keep it with the police-related projects to which it is allocated.
FOP attorney Jim Moore sent a letter Thursday to Bartlett stating that the union wants to go ahead and open negotiations with the city for next fiscal year's contract.
The memorandums of understanding that are keeping the 31 officers on the force will have to be extended by the union through the next fiscal year if they are to be kept on the force, Bartlett said. "They are going to have to be flexible because we don't expect our financial situation to turn around quickly," he said.
The mayor said he made a mistake during the cuts by expecting the police union to be fair and that union leaders "went out of their way to discourage officers from even considering my proposal."
During the upcoming negotiations, Bartlett said, he plans to talk directly with individual officers at the police stations.
A temporary restraining order granted Thursday in Tulsa County District Court to prevent the layoff of four officers on the list because of seniority issues may be moot since the officers are among those retained. The court was closed Friday, and the FOP attorney could not be reached for comment.
The police layoffs have cut the force's manpower from about 808 to 684.
The layoffs of 59 civilian employees also took effect Friday after the city's 2,400 nonsworn employees voted last week in a nonbinding labor union opinion poll to take job cuts in lieu of a 5.2-percent pay cut for all.
Fire union members will be voting through Sunday on their proposal from the mayor, which would save 147 firefighters' jobs through 5.2-percent salary cuts, eight furlough days next fiscal year and other benefit concessions.
The firefighter layoff notices that went out last week were set to go into effect Friday, as they did for police and other employees.
Bartlett has granted an extension until the voting is complete. The results are expected at 7 p.m. Sunday.
Brian Barber 581-8322
Tulsa Police Department range armorer Danny Cheatham (right) shakes hands with newly reinstated Officer Kevin Scalf and jokes, "Welcome to the Tulsa Police Department, young man!" after handing back all the weapons Scalf had turned in just two hours earlier as part of the layoff process at the Tulsa Police Academy on Friday. Scalf is one of 31 officers reinstated after the city crunched more numbers and figured out how to save some of the 155 jobs on the chopping block.MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World