Oakland: Police and City Negotiate to Avoid Layoffs

Police agree to concessions, City can't promise no layoffs for three years

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Oakland police are searching for a 10-month-old baby.

    Some Oakland police officers on patrol today may not be on patrol tomorrow. Midnight is the deadline for the police union to reach an agreement with the City of Oakland in order to avoid laying off 80 police officers.

    At the heart of the issue appears to be job security.

    The city council asked OPD officers to pay nine percent of their salary toward their pensions, which would save the city about $7.8 million toward a multi-million dollar deficit. The police union agreed, as long as the city could promise no layoffs for three years. No dice, says city council president Jane Brunner.

    "We wish we could offer them a three-year no layoff protection we just can't financially.It would be irresponsible of us," Brunner told NBC Bay Area. The city agreed to a one-year moratorium on layoffs, but it is not enough for the union.

    The problem is that in the last five years, the police budget -- along with the fire department budget -- have amount to 75 percent of the general fund. After years of largely sparing those departments the budget ax, now it appears there are few other places to cut.

    These are the last hours of negotiation and Brunner is hopeful that the city and police will find some sort middle ground.

    "It's been very good conversation and not a whole lot of grandstanding." Brunner said. "There's actually real conversations. Each side understands the problem," she said.

    If the layoffs go into effect, they amount to nearly 10 percent of OPD's 776 officer force.