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Mayor announces layoffs at Providence Police


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City Hall press release on Providence Police cuts:

FACING FISCAL CRISIS, PROVIDENCE TO LAYOFF 60-80 POLICE PERSONNEL

Commissioner of Public Safety to oversee staff reduction, identify best strategies to minimize impact on public safety in Providence

PROVIDENCE, RI – Facing a $110 million structural deficit, Mayor Angel Taveras recently submitted a budget to the Providence City Council that recommends $64 million in spending cuts across City government, including a 10% cut to police and fire budgets.

Following the release of the budget, the Taveras administration continued negotiations with union leadership to realize $6 million in cuts to the police department budget. Union leadership and representatives from the Taveras administration both approached the bargaining process in good faith but have regrettably not been able to achieve these savings without layoffs. Beginning next week, Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare will begin proceedings to eliminate 60-80 positions within the department.

“After laying off 10% of the City’s non-union staff, closing six schools, terminating teachers, and asking taxpayers to accept a significant increase in property taxes, we now must make the difficult decision to reduce our police force. We have not taken this action lightly and it was with a heavy heart today that we delivered the news to the men and women who so proudly serve the City of Providence. Unfortunately, we simply must realize these cost savings to save our City from fiscal collapse,” said Mayor Angel Taveras.

The reduction in spending is absolutely necessary|the City cannot borrow to fill a $110 million structural deficit and without immediate action, the City could begin to experience cash flow issues as early as this summer. Taveras made the layoff decision in consultation with Commissioner Pare. Pare will oversee the process to minimize the effect of reductions on public safety in Providence.

“I have instructed Police Department leadership to make necessary adjustments to patrols and assignments to ensure that the number of officers patrolling the streets of Providence remains as consistent as possible under these circumstances. Keeping Providence safe for residents and visitors remains a top priority for the administration, and we will manage this difficult transition carefully, with all energies focused on maintaining the highest standards of public safety in Providence,” said Pare.

Providence is not the first city forced to reduce its police force in response to budget crisis. Other cities taking similar action include San Jose, CA (106 positions eliminated), Houston, Texas (181 positions eliminated), Cleveland, OH (150 positions eliminated), Camden, NJ (163 positions eliminated), Patterson, NJ (125 positions eliminated), Cincinnati, OH (144 positions eliminated), among others.

“Every day the officers who serve our City put themselves in harm’s way to protect those who live, work or visit Providence. This fiscal crisis does not diminish the gratitude we feel and I deeply regret that we could not achieve the savings we needed in another way,” said Taveras.


Media reaction

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7 Responses to Mayor announces layoffs at Providence Police

  1. barry May 25, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

    I’m starting to think the anti-tax movement, started in part as a legitimate and importsnt effort to reduce waste, fraud and inefficiency, is so successful it is now really threatening to ruin the country. Thus, these layoffs that if implemented will inevitably threaten public safety, which in turn weakens Providence as a destination for visitors, businesses, and residents who have choices, thus encouraging urban sprawl with all its impacts. Along with deteriorating roads and bridges, inadequate public transit, skyrocketing public higher ed tuition, rising homelessness, all trace in part to the anti-tax anti-government movement that can easily reduce any issue to a sound-bite of waste, big government, taxed enough, etc Its not Tavares’ fault, Providence suffers from loss of state aide, while having to deal with more than its share of issues of tax-empt property, poverty, racial tensions, traffic congestion, and old infrastructure.

  2. Andrew I May 26, 2011 at 6:42 am #

    Right, Barry.
    The short of it is Carcieri cut state taxes on the wealthy and then balanced the budget by cutting aid to cities. Why is this down the memory hole?

  3. RunawayJim May 26, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    There wouldn’t be any, or at least not as many, lay offs in the police department had they agreed to more concessions. They have their union to blame for that. Everyone is going to take a hit in order to fix the city’s financial situation. Unfortunately, the people affected most are the residents.

  4. Jef Nickerson May 26, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    The short of it is Carcieri cut state taxes on the wealthy and then balanced the budget by cutting aid to cities. Why is this down the memory hole?

    Because all anyone hears in that sentence is cut state taxes and they pee their pants.

  5. Jef Nickerson June 1, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    Alternative suggested to police layoffs [The Providence Journal]

    The police labor union is pressing hard for an early-retirement incentive as a way to avoid the threatened layoff of 60 to 80 police officers.

    A buyout of senior police officers would save $4 million to $5 million right away, and, combined with a continued crackdown on overtime spending, would meet Mayor Angel Taveras’ stated target of $6 million in concessions from the union in the 2011-2012 fiscal year budget, according to union lawyer Joseph J. Rodio.

    “If you incentivize and stop burning your overtime, you’ll get $6 million in the blink of an eye,” Rodio said Tuesday. Officers see the loss of prized overtime as a concession.

  6. RunawayJim June 1, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    I’ve never understood the whole mandatory overtime. If it’s mandatory, it should not be considered overtime. The cops should not expect overtime. It is not a concession.

  7. Jef Nickerson June 3, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    City moving ahead with plans to lay off police [The Providence Journal]

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