The Austin Police Association and Mayor-elect Lee Leffingwell have cobbled together an innovative solution that will save the city about $5 million dollars during this difficult budget season.
Leffingwell and the Police Association hope the savings will protect this year's police cadet class, a move that will maintain the regular cycle of new officers on the street.
This is a way that I think would be best to keep the cadet class, and they agree with that. What we have talked about is that we can't afford to cut back on the delivery of public safety service on the street level.
The Police Department loses about 40 – 60 officers a year through retirement and resignations, this maneuver will save the Department from a potential 3-5 year shortfall in officers being trained and addressing the needs of the community.
Senior members of the Austin Police Association and Mayor-elect Leffingwell began working on this agreement over the last several days. The solution came as a welcome surprise to City Management and community leaders.
Some close to the Mayor praised both the Mayor and Police Association for their selfless negotiations.
“This is a very selfless act by the Police Association. To give up their raise they negotiated through a standard contract is the kind of service we want from our public safety officers,” said DeWayne Lofton, president of the Pecan Springs Neighborhood Association.
“I am proud of the vision Mayor-elect Leffingwell has shown by working out this compromise, and the leadership of the Police Association has taken in this bold step,” said Lofton.
This news comes as the city discusses ways to cut $45 million from the city budget during the economic downturn.
For disclosure purposes, I worked for Lee Leffingwell's Mayoral campaign. News like this makes me proud to disclose the information.