City Hall opens door for more cuts
by Eric Firpo/ TP staff
Oct 27, 2009 | 3994 views | 71 71 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tracy’s day of reckoning arrived this week when managers gave city employees about 58 layoff notices, as administrators try to chop spending by $9 million to close a built-in budget deficit.

Though details are still being worked out as the city’s top administrators sit down with government union heads and leaders of other labor groups, pain is likely to be spread across the board.

A report due out Thursday, recommending the layoffs the City Council will vote on at its meeting Tuesday, will spell out exactly where the layoffs will come from.

One knowledgeable source, who asked not to be identified because the person is not authorized to speak, said cuts will likely include several police officers.

In the police department, a top administrator might be let go, another could get demoted, four officers could be out of a job, and the gang unit could be disbanded, with those officers reassigned as patrolmen, the source said.

In the fire department, the city’s finance director said, a vacant firefighter job or two might be cut, but no firefighters will be laid off. It remains to be seen whether any top managers there will be demoted.

Another employee unauthorized to speak on the matter said nearly two dozen members of the Teamsters union, which mostly represents public works employees, could be laid off.

Some of the numbers for proposed layoffs could change later, depending upon, for instance, whether any long-time employees retire unexpectedly.

And Zane Johnston said administrators will still talk with union heads to discuss the impacts of the proposals and perhaps tinker with suggested cuts.

“In the end, you have to identify the size of the organization that can be sustained,” Johnston said. “We know that city revenues will never be what they were before.”

Both sales taxes and property taxes that the city relies on to pay its workers have taken huge hits in the past two years, when Tracy’s income has shrunk about 25 percent from about $55 million to roughly $43 million projected for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

The suggested layoffs left city employees on edge for the past few weeks, with many waiting to see if they’ll have a job.

The layoffs will be based on seniority, with those hires last shown the door first. Some employees will likely be bumped from one department to another just so they can keep a job with the city.

The proposed job cuts alone are unlikely to save the city $9 million, and city officials have already begun steps to ask voters to OK a new tax to pay for public safety.

But Johnston said layoffs are “a big, big step, a big chunk of the overall position of where we need to be in the future.”

• Contact Tracy Press City Editor Eric Firpo at 830-4223 or efirpo@tracypress.com.
Comments
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informed2009
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November 03, 2009
Lots of consternation about the conference attend by members of our department. Yes, the conference is hosted by Woman Leaders in Law Enforcement. The organization is supported by the San Mateo County Police Chief's and Sheriff Association. The fact that the woman who are worn to protect our city have gone as a group is irrelevant.

The topics covered at the conference are; Excercising your Ethical Muscle, Managing Critical Incidents, The Resilient Leader, Dealing with Difficult Employees, the Roadmap to Political Survival and Cross-Fit; Physical and Mental Toughness. It also includes a panel of critical incident survivors.

The topics provide great information that this group of officers will bring back to the department to make it stronger. Male or female, this is beneficial information for our police department. The absence of these officers for the three days has little impact on department staffing. The minimum number of officers required for patrol is five. A number that preceded the new chief.

It is odd that there has been no mention of the three male officers that are at a conference in Disneyland. The topic of their conference: P.O.P. (project oriented policing) projects. I suspect the cumulative knowledge gained by the female officers at their conference will, at the very least, equal that of their male counterparts.

This isn't about men versus woman. This is about the chief capitalizing on opportunities to make our police department stronger in these tough times. We may have to reduce our workforce, but that doesn't mean we should stop training and educating the workforce we have.

The success or failure of the Chief in Kansas has little bearing on what faces us today. Perhaps we should be supportive and allow her the opportunity to succeed. If she fails, she will be replaced. Haven't we all needed that same latitude at some point in our lives and careers?

informed2009
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November 03, 2009
.
MarleyNMe
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November 02, 2009
What "debacle"? The housing slump mentioned in the article is the result of "change". You can thank the 60% of American voters who were enamored with the words written on a tele-prompter. The other 40% of Americans knew the "debacle" was coming.
Cinderdog
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November 01, 2009
mnwild:

You are so right about the City needing to implement policy changes. The only problem is we currently seem to employ a City Manager who has occupied that position for approximately one year and a Chief of Police who has not passed her probationary period. Why do you suppose we hired a Chief in this City that had resigned from a larger Police Department after only 6 years of service? Ironically her replacement came from within the department (Chief Menke, a veteran of 20 years). How can we expect a City Manager and a Chief of Police with a combined City of Tracy employment of less than two years to intelligently implement policy changes. We are so screwed and the management of this City is so responsible for this debacle.

It is shy of obtuse to declare a touchy feely seminar with the female police officers and management when it appears we cannot allow our officers appropriate bullets or range training due to budget cutbacks. I hope everyone starts to attend City Council meetings to remind our 'elected' government officials that they can be fired just as quickly as they were elected.

Mabe it is time this City acquires a Citizens Police Advisory Board like the one that exists in Olathe, Kansas!!!!!
mnwild
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November 01, 2009
I think the City needs to implement the same policy the State and Caltrans have regarding travel during this time of no money, layoffs and furloughs. And the City Manager needs to issue at least 3 memos (just like the Governor) prohibiting non-essential travel to seminars, conferences and training. Then there'll be consistency in the total disregard of policy and we taxpayers can continue to foot the bill by increasing taxes on all levels. LOL

(I know sarcasm is the lowest form of humor, but some days its all I got! :D)
Cinderdog
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November 01, 2009
lol
RedHotChilliPeppers
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November 01, 2009
Did the curriculum provider offer a group discount? Some do and others don't. Why is training cost an issue? Last year we found out a city council member was taking classes in the cities dime.
Green_Acres
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November 01, 2009
In some companies at $625 you don't even need a department head's approval/signature. And many of the companies, I've workded offered tuition reimbursement. Personally, I've taken more than $625 in training (per year). At most companies training is mandatory. HR requires several days of mandatory training. If you don't take it you get a warning from Personel and it negatively impacts your performance review if you don't take it. That's considered a cost of business.
Green_Acres
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November 01, 2009
Let's see:

$5000/8 is $625.

Green_Acres
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November 01, 2009
webedoomed,

No I never said they shouldn't be in law enforcement. You ever meet a female drill seargant like Lee Ermy, hire her. anonymous said we had eight cops out of town for a week and they felt good about it? Hire her?
anonymous
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November 01, 2009
bumpkin...whoop de fricken do, a female officer told a juvenile they were a ward of the state. what happens when a 200 lb parolee decides they aren't going back to jail again...is that same female cop going to tell the parolee that "their ass is now a ward of the state?" I don't care if they send the whole damn police force to this feel good BS conference....bottom line there are 8 cops who are not going to be in the City of Tracy for a week or so. Are we supposed to keep giving away our tax dollars so our female officers can all go sing kum by ya around a campfire and tell feel good stories to each other. Talk about fiscal irresponsibility, no wonder we are in the financial predicament we are currently in.
webedoomed
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November 01, 2009
Time change must have messed things up. My last comment should have come after "bumpkin whoop de fricken do"
webedoomed
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November 01, 2009
We don't need to go down the road of "should females be in law enforcement". They bring much that most male officers can't. The only thing that matters to me, and this goes for males and females, if I'm getting my ass handed to me, they better be willing to jump into the fray.

Bumpkin, you're mad about something, but I don't know what and don't really care. I was just giving you something to chaw on.
LammersvilleBumpkin
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October 31, 2009
anonymous,

Did you contact the proper authorities for your request for "proper training"? And which course are you recommending? Which "liability"? Are you a lawyer? Which group do you represent? What idea do you have? What are you talking about?
anonymous
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October 31, 2009
Bumpkin, I have no idea what you're talking about, but know this: I'm not saying it's a bad idea to send these officers to this training. All I'm saying is that there may be other training that is being cut that shouldn't. I'm sure you understand that cities can open themselves up to great liability if they have officers doing things without proper training.
LammersvilleBumpkin
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October 31, 2009
First of all the Chief is a female. Second do you think it is not pertinant to have tough female officers? I've seen them tough as nails or sweet as a pussy cat.

I was there when one female officer said, "your ass is now a ward of the state". She put the cuffs on em like she meant business.

I was there when one female officer stood by. I don't know about youi but if I was a male officer I'd want them to have my back right about then.

So, which "training" do you prefer they recieve?

I think if you want to debate your position you should at least have one. But, you never said.
anonymous
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October 31, 2009
Bumpkin, it's about priorities. Did you stop to think that other more pressing and pertinent training may have been denied due to the financial crisis? You would be true to your name if you though this had anything to with being male or female, or anything else for that matter.
LammersvilleBumpkin
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October 31, 2009
Every city is laying off police officers. If this is a gruble about $5000 dollars to spend money on female officers. I guess some people s spuuses are complaining thy don't want the ri husbands gettin laid of.

Do you really thing those female officers wont' get laid off just cause some one spent 5k to send a group to trianing class?

Remember every city is cutting police. Not just white male officers in tracy. Crying out loud!
LammersvilleBumpkin
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October 31, 2009
Why does it matter why she resigned? Call them and ask them. Maybe she understand the pressure of a female in a bigger city. She said she wanted to work in a smaller community. Where people are involved in community. I think anyone could appreciate what happened when we put up all those signs. People are stil encouraged by what happened in the community. Not encouraged by the crime, but the community steped up to the plate. That's what she wanted. Community. Can't Tracy live up to it? Or do we have to go criticizing people for wanting community? Good grief!! You people need a life!!
Tracy5oh
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October 31, 2009
Sorry, I can't speculate on why the Chief resigned from her last department. I know the rumors of what happened, but it would be unfair to comment on something that I don't know as a fact. I'm sure the Police Association in Olathe, Kansas would be more than willing to talk to anyone who contacts them.

I also don't want to turn the debate into a "white male" vs. female officer/minority issue. It is a stupid comparison because we have excellent female/minority police officers. Sensationalizing the issue only drives a wedge between the line officers. My comment on the conference was merely my take on the financial irresponsibility of an all female leadership conference when we're short on money.

As far as our salaries, I do agree that we must look at what we can do to save jobs. The sworn officers are looking at more layoffs than other employees at the PD because we make more money. On the other hand, the city agreed to our current salary/benefit package without reservation. When the city turns around and begins to be in better financial situation I can guarantee they will not be knocking at the PD's door to give a pay raise.

Just to make one other thing clear, I'm personally against the parcel tax that was proposed to fund police/fire. No PD officers had anything to do with the parcel tax and it was a surprise to all of us when it was proposed. I pay enough taxes and the city needs to stop wasting money on sports parks/pools/ineffective "youth programs" etc before they will get any more. Manteca also had a special tax to fund police and we see how that all turned out. They recently laid off 12 police officers despite this special tax. I have no doubt that the city would divert this money to other places than public safety.


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