Could payroll cuts help keep Phoenix police offers on the street? Phoenix’s city manager thinks so.
In May, Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher’s proposal to cut pay and benefits cut for all city employees by a 1.6 percent as a way to manage Phoenix’s budget was voted on and approved by several emergency worker unions.
These “shared sacrifices,” as Zuercher said in The Arizona Republic, have been put into effect to save Phoenix from an egregiously out of control budget without reducing the size of the police or firefighter force, which can lead to a miscellany of other issues.
For example, in 2011 Sacramento made large cuts to its police department, and the city saw significant increases in crime. From 2011 to 2012, shootings went up by 48 percent. Rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries and vehicle thefts also increased, The New York Times said.
Similarly, Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona President Bryan Jeffries, has suggested a plan that also reduces firefighter and police officer compensation by asking them to voluntarily cut their pensions to save the city money and to repair a flawed retirement program.
Jeffries plan asks emergency workers to be the main voice when it comes to determining how pensions are reduced. For this to happen, he is currently trying to get a vote on a Constitutional amendment to prevent lawmakers from producing even more drastic changes in the future. This would quell the fears of police officers and firefighters who worry that their pay and pensions could be reduced too severely.
Although many workers are not pleased with the implemented pay cuts, others have accepted the sacrifice.
“We weren’t willing to cut everyone else so we could get a raise,” fire union President Pete Gorraiz said according to The Republic. “Nobody wants to take cuts, but we understand the fiscal realities.”
Smaller police departments could mean increased crime rates. Phoenix reduced city employee pay and benefits rather than cutting workers and limiting important public services.