MIAMI (CBS4) – Nearly 100 Miami-Dade police officers who were expecting to receive pink slips in the mail this week can breathe a little easier.
Over the weekend, county Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he was backing down on his plan to send out termination notices to 90 police officers on Monday.
“In a sign of good faith we decided not to do that today,” said Gimenez. “We’ll wait and see what happens tomorrow.”
Earlier this month Gimenez said the layoffs would be necessary if a cost-cutting collective bargain deal was not reached.
“We’re just entering the holiday season and crime is on the rise,” said John Rivera, President of the Dade County Police Benevolent Association. “We need those 90 plus another 390 officers to keep the streets safe.”
Late last week, the county reached a tentative agreement with the firefighters’ union in which lay offs were taken off the table in exchange for three no-pay furlough days and an internal restructuring of the department.
After working out a cost-cutting contract with the firefighters, the PBA has hopes that the police department can negotiate as well.
“Especially in light of the fact that the fire fighters secured a contract that they’re taking for ratification to their membership, we’re hoping that maybe thats a break through their hard line stance,” said Rivera.
On Tuesday, the County Hall will be hosting a public session where negotiations will continue. A number of officers and supporters are expected to attend.
While the police union and county administrators continue their contract negotiations, the county is looking to achieve $239 million in union concessions to make up for their budget shortfall.
Currently on the table, the county is looking for a 21 percent reduction in salary and benefits from police officers.
The proposed layoffs would be in addition to slashing 214 vacant positions which would bring the department’s total staff to 4,121 from its current 4,373.
The union believes the salary and benefit cuts will not only cost them a number of talented officers and recruits but it will also endanger public safety.