New York Daily News

January 17, 2003

finest Spared: City Hall: No Pink slips for NYPD Blue

Cops on street

After reviewing the Police Department's revised budget proposal, Mayor Bloomberg has decided that the NYPD can be spared from layoffs, officials said yesterday. The move spared the department, for now, from having to cut officers loose for the first time since the fiscal crisis of the 1970s.



Cop layoffs shot down

Mayor likes budget redo

By MICHAEL SAUL DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU

There will be no pink slips for the men and women in blue.

After reviewing the Police Department's revised budget proposal, Mayor Bloomberg has decided that the NYPD can be spared from layoffs, officials said yesterday.

The move spared the department, for now, from having to cut officers loose for the first time since the fiscal crisis of the 1970s.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly repeatedly had said last week that it would be "very difficult" to meet his ordered 3% budget cut, or $93.4 million, without layoffs.

But top police brass now believe that layoffs will not be necessary, said Michael O'Looney, the NYPD's chief spokesman, and City Hall agrees.

"[Kelly] said it would be very difficult but not impossible," to avoid layoffs, said O'Looney, declining to specify the department's new cost-cutting plans. "We are working with [city budget officials] to identify ways to reach that $93.4 million goal."

Even though layoffs are off the table, the size of the force is expected to continue to plummet.

The department has lost 3,500 officers - nearly 9% - in just more than a year. By June 30, the department is on track to reduce the force to 37,210 through retirement and attrition. The threatened layoffs, as many as 1,000, would have been on top of that.

Instead, much of the NYPD's savings is expected to come from attrition and from delaying the next class of recruits, further cutting the head count.

How far it will drop is not clear.

Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., chairman of the Council's Public Safety Committee, termed the reduction "unacceptable."

"Politically, layoffs aren't a real possibility," Vallone (D-Queens) said. "But, unfortunately, the city may achieve the same goal - slashing the police force - without layoffs."

Reconsidering Plan A

Mayor Bloomberg hinted yesterday that most other city agencies also would be able to identify cuts without resorting to pink slips.

"A lot of [agencies] surprisingly enough have come back with ways to reduce expenses without layoffs," Bloomberg said. "In the end, nobody wants to lay off people."

When pressed as to whether he could rule out layoffs for all city workers, Bloomberg said: "We'll see."

Officials are planning to reduce the workforce citywide by 8,000 by June 2004. Bloomberg also is seeking $600 million in productivity savings from the unions. Without those savings, he said, 12,000 jobs would be in jeopardy.

Lillian Roberts, executive director of District Council 37, the city's largest union, said she hoped layoffs "won't be necessary and we can begin to bring our morale back."

Yet layoffs already have hit the city.

Last month, the Police Department axed 103 janitors. The workers were the first to lose their jobs as part of the NYPD's overall plan to reduce civilian jobs by 705.

The School Construction Authority laid off several hundred workers. And more than 100 employees at the Fresh Kills landfill also received pinks slips.

In late November, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein abruptly laid off about 70 mid- and high-level employees, the first of hundreds of central administrative jobs on the chopping block.

Bloomberg said yesterday many school district staffers could be shuffled into new jobs or offered early retirement as part of his latest reform effort.