Hollywood Cuts Police Force, PBA Fights To Keep Jobs

HOLLYWOOD (CBS4) – The Broward County Police Benevolent Association is fighting to save the jobs of 13 police officers who have been told they’re being laid off due to a ten million dollar budget shortfall.

PBA President Jeff Marano claims the city’s move to fire the officers is illegal and the union is doing what it can to prevent the layoffs.

In addition to the police officer layoffs, city officials also voted Monday night to lay off 18 other City workers and slash remaining city workers salaries by 7 ½-percent.

“It’s hard enough to make your mortgage and pay your insurance and now your pay is cut, no wonder there are foreclosures,” said one Hollywood city worker on Tuesday.

During a packed city commission meeting Monday night, the commission voted to lay off the officers and the City workers, which is roughly 2 ½-percent of the entire public workforce in Hollywood.

The commission also cut the remaining police officers salaries by 10-percent, cut 12 ½-percent from firefighters pay and cut 10-percent from the mayor, and commissioner’s staff.

“It’s not fair. Because all we do is wake up every day and put a vest on and a gun on my hip and want to protect the City,” said Officer Meredith Tisch with tears in her eyes. Tisch was among those losing their jobs.

Officer Danielly Deandrade agreed while tears streamed down her face. She was also laid off. “I would take any pay cut to be here to stay here. But they don’t care.”

The officers will be out of work in just a week and a half.

Mayor Peter Bober declined to comment about the controversial vote but Vice-Mayor Patty Asseff spoke briefly, “It’s not something any of us wanted to do, but we had to do it, it’s either that or we can’t afford to pay them.”

The police officer’s union plans to fight the cuts with an appeal to the Florida Public Employee Relations Commission which mediates these types of disputes.

“Most of the members were very, very shocked at the way they were treated and many of the citizens who came to support us were very unhappy that they didn’t get a chance to speak,” said Jeff Marano of the PBA. “One of the individuals who spoke last night comes from a police family, has lived and worked in Hollywood his whole life, has watched his father and wanted to become a Hollywood police officer. It’s devastating to these kids.”

The union says it’s a matter of public safety so they’re also launching a grass-roots campaign in the city to let the neighborhoods know how exactly they’ll be affected.

The unions also argue the City could use Community Redevelopment Agency money to make ends meet and they criticize commissioners for spending 600-thousand dollars on refurbishing the City’s water tower.

More from Joan Murray
  • T-Man

    How much is Bober and his assistants salaries? I wonder if ALL workers are getting a pay cut.

  • Common Sense is Uncommon

    They need to learn from other cities like Toronto for one. The city was expecting a deficit and tightened their belts. Some jobs were left unfilled and they over budgeted on some items which ended up costing less and had extra revenue that thye were not counting on. In the end they had a 88 million surplus. They know that the 2012 budget will end up in a deficit so they they are not spending the surplus money and are looking at every department cutting 10% of their budget in 2012.

  • Outraged taxpayer

    The fire department is much much worse. If people only knew how much of the budget goes to these party animals.

  • Outraged Taxpayer

    These government unions have put the cities in finacial ruins while people are losing everything they have. These unions are very greedy and only care about themselves.

  • Brian

    Hey Outraged Taxpayer, you might want to do some homework and get to know your numbers first before making ignorant comments… The Hollywood Police Pension costs the city and you “outraged taxpayers” only 3% of all the Hollywood taxes combined. HPD is NOT in the Florida Retirement system like all the other police pensions that have been the news lately that pay nothing into pension. HPD Officers pay 10% of their gross salary every paycheck to offset pension costs for the city. HPD officers also gave up a separate benefit account from the state that amounts to $1.2 million per year and GAVE it to the city to offset pension costs.

    You want to blame someone that put cities in financial ruins while people are losing everything? How abount the high-end real estate agents that were selling grossly overvalued properties over the last 10 years, like Commissioner Patty Asef, who became a millionaire doing this. And the banks that approved loans of 200% of the value of a house that was already overvalued 150%.

    Get it right, the private industry, your banks, and the irresponsibility of people spending WAY more than they have created this financial crisis. And the City of Hollywood is no different, $680, 000 on a water tower paint job, $100,000 on a free concert last week, $14 million on a wi-fi system that their own I.T. people said wouldn’t work, $15-32 million on the arts park (no one knows the true amount because the city is hiding the numbers), and the irresponsible spending list by these criminal commissioners goes on.

    Teachers, Cops, Firefighters and Garbagemen are NOT to blame for the world’s woe’s, they were just smart enough to take the slow steady path to a DECENT, not extravagant, retirement plan while everyone else tried to gamble and lost. Now you sound like a gambling addict who is jealous of his friend that saved his money.

    • Outraged Taxpayer

      Isn’t it true that every city elected official gets elected by supporting the city unions who in turn approves these outrageous benefits not even close to the private sector?

  • Steve

    Thank you Brian. Amen!!!!!!

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