City leaders respond to pink slips that were handed out - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

City leaders respond to pink slips that were handed out

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SAGINAW (WJRT) -

(02/04/13) - The city of Saginaw is forced to hand out more than three dozen pink slips to public safety employees.

If a budget solution isn't reached soon, those layoffs would be effective July 1.

According to union officials, the police department received 21 layoff notices. The fire department was given 15 pink slips.

The cuts are expected to help cover a portion of the city's $3.2 million shortfall.

Meanwhile, cost-saving talks are still underway with the Sheriff's Department.

The city wants deputies to help with patrols, but the sheriff needs more time.

"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," said Sheriff William Federspiel.

ABC12 asked pastors and other city leaders what they think about the pink slips. Many believe it's going to create even more problems in the city.

"The city needs to get its act together. I don't know how you police a city like that," said Gary Loster, the spokesperson for Concerned Citizens of Saginaw.

Public Safety has been a hot button issue in Saginaw for years. The thought of downsizing the police and fire departments angers residents like Gary Loster.

What I say to city leaders, they better go back to the table and figure it out and they better take some action that is responsible that's needed because we have a horrific crime rate in the city of Saginaw, not to say that other cities don't but I don't live in other cities, I live in Saginaw," he said.

Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel says this is the first time since he's been the sheriff that he has seen pink slips go out to any agency in the County. Some are left saying there's no doubt that the city has to downsize

"That's where our focus is going to shift in how do we put together a model that allows us to provide police and fire services in the city of Saginaw that the city of Saginaw citizens can afford to pay for. Period," said Darnell Earley, the city manager.

Pastor Hurley Coleman spent a lot of 2012 speaking out about the city's violence. He wonders what the cuts will mean.

"It's still disturbing to me that the plans for the city have to do with reductions and cuts without a real vision for how we're going to increase revenue or operation to increase the services. Twenty-one police officers from the police force would be a significant impact and I think it would be a real problem for community residents to feel a continued level of safety," he said.

City and county leaders plan to meet Wednesday to continue their discussion.

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