ATLANTIC CITY — An offer by City Hall released Friday lays the groundwork for getting most of the resort’s 60 laid-off police officers back to work.
The city proposed to Policemen’s Benevolent Association Local 24 that it would return 15 officers to work Dec. 1. The city now employs 285 police officers, PBA President David Davidson Jr. said.
The rehirings would be contingent on the PBA following through on concessions it proposed last week, including two unpaid furlough days and the loss of a personal day and uniform allowance.
The union has voted to make those concessions, as long as all 60 officers are returned to their jobs, Davidson said.
Mayor Lorenzo Langford said the city would use the money saved by the PBA concessions, and commit an additional $1 million next year, to maintain a department staff of 300.
The mayor called the additional city funding “a show of good faith.”
The city could rehire as many as 30 additional officers in the next year, depending on future, unspecified police department concessions in 2011. The city also could bring the remaining officers back to work as others retired or left the force.
Langford said he personally signed and dated the document that was faxed to the PBA. “This takes the speculation and gamesmanship out of it,” Langford said. “It’s a fair deal, it speaks for itself and we will see what happens to it.”
The current deal follows a proposal offered by the PBA earlier this month to give up a personal day, take two furlough days, and waive the shoe and uniform allowance to return all 60 laid-off officers to work Dec. 1. Davidson said the police union approved the proposal by a 222-20 margin.
Davidson said the laid-off officers were disappointed by the counteroffer to return 15. Speaking after a loud, closed-door meeting at PBA headquarters between Davidson and the laid-off members, Davidson said, “They’re disappointed that we’re not moving forward with the 60” officers immediately returning to work.
The layoffs were hard on officers, Davidson said, because they have to avoid jobs in the civil service system to qualify for rehiring.
“It’s the holiday time,” he said. “There’s some jobs out there, but you’re dealing with guys who are motivated and are not used to sitting idle.”
He said he would take the city’s offer to the union’s executive board, which would decide whether to put it to the full union for a vote. That could happen in the coming weeks.
The city laid off 20 officers in June, then another 40 on Sept. 30, at which time 30 firefighters also were laid off.
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