HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami.com) – Thirteen Hollywood police officers who were set to be laid off have had their jobs reinstated after their fellow officers agreed to a steep pay cut in the department.
Hollywood public information officer Raelin Storey said the decision was made during a special city commission meeting Thursday morning. The agreement on the 12.5 percent pay cut was made Tuesday between the city and the police benevolent association.
“I’m going to have to pay more attention to my spending but I’m really happy to have a job,” said Meredith Tisch, one of the reinstated officers.
The Hollywood City Commission had voted in mid-June to lay off the officers and cut the remaining officers salaries by 10 percent. During the same meeting, the commission cut salaries of firefighters by 12.5 percent and cut salaries to the mayor and commissioner’s staff by 10 percent.
“We are still 30 officers short but we’ll do our best for citizens when they call,” said Danielly Deandre.
Just last week Deandre and Tisch were visibly upset when they attended a contentious city commission meeting when commissioners approved the layoffs to deal with a ten million dollar budget shortfall.
After continuing negotiations with the PBA, the union representing the officers, the commission early Thursday morning approved the deal at a brief special meeting.
“Certainly it was not our preference to have layoffs and through negotiation that’s how we ended up where we are today,” said Mayor Peter Bober.
Chief Chadwick Wagner had heavily criticized the commission’s decision and said at the time that he would have had to cut back patrols in some areas and said the city would be more vulnerable to crime if the officers were laid off.
At the time of the original vote, unions criticized the commission saying they could have used Community Redevelopment Agency money to fill budget gaps.
Though no jobs are being lost the police union said they’ve lost something bigger.
“We are now the lowest paid police officers in Broward and as a result we are getting paid $21 an hour to get shot at as a starting officer,” said Jeff Marano of the PBA.
The city’s budget woes aren’t solved and they acknowledge next year will be just as tough for all city workers.
The mayor said they may be able to save the jobs of 18 other city workers who were to be laid off if the will agree to a similar 12 and a half percent pay cut.