Saginaw County Sheriff reacts to police and fire pink slips - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Saginaw County Sheriff reacts to police and fire pink slips

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(02/04/13) - Painful cuts have been made to Saginaw's public safety department. Pink slips were passed out to some police officers and firefighters. The layoffs are expected to help cover a multi-million dollar budget deficit. 

Union officials say 36 people were given pink slips, Friday. Originally, City Manager Darnell Earley said 18 police officers and 15 firefighters would be let go. But, according to the numbers from the union, the police department received 21 layoff notices Friday, three more than expected. We left a message with the city manager's office to confirm the new figures, but we did not get an answer in time for this story.
City leaders will continue to work to find ways to fill the expected $3.2 million gap. If they can't come up with another solution, the layoffs will take effect July 1. Both the police and fire unions say the news is disappointing, both plan to continue working with the city to find a better alternative.

Earley still hopes to reach a public safety deal with the Saginaw County Sheriff, one that's expected to save some police jobs.
So far, Sheriff William Federspiel has not agreed to the proposal. The Sheriff says the pink slips will add some pressure to his department, but he says it's important that he takes his time and makes the best decision for the entire county.

"My concern is for the citizens of Saginaw County, I will continue to say that, and that means that I won't enter recklessly into any agreement."

He says the Flushing Township Police Department is fresh on his mind. Last year the entire department was laid off and the Genesee County Sheriffs Department was contracted to patrol the township. Just last month, an arbitrator ruled the officers should get their jobs back, and the township was ordered to pay them for the time they had been out of work.

"That is extremely detrimental to the citizens of Flushing Township. I've known about that case for a long time. I've been waiting to hear the results of that arbitration, now I'd like to hear from Darnell Early, the city manager of the city of Saginaw how the city of Saginaw is different than Flushing, or if they are at all," Federspiel said.

The sheriff knows time is of the essence, but he'll use the time to make what he feels is the wisest decision.

"I want to see what is best for the citizens of Saginaw County."

Another meeting with city and county leaders is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 6.

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