ATLANTIC CITY - Police union members are voting today on whether to take concessions that could return the city's laid off officers to work.
If the vote passes, the department's current officers would agree to two furlough days, give up a paid personal day and also give back the shoe and uniform allowance. But it would still have to go to Mayor Lorenzo Langford for approval.
Added up, the concessions would give about $550,000 to $600,000 back to the city, PBA President David Davidson Jr. The two days also would be less of a scheduling burden than offers that have called for more days, he said.
"We're trying to cover (the remaining) salaries of the 60 laid-off officers," Davidson said.
Twenty officers were cut from the ranks in June, then another 40 lost their jobs Sept. 30, along with 30 city firefighters. In the less than five months since the layoffs began, there have been eight homicides in the city, resulting in no arrest. In the first five months, four people were killed, with arrests in three of those crimes.
Deputy Chief Ernest Jubilee has said that, with the lessened ranks, he has had to focus on getting officers on the street and answering 911 calls, which has included reassigning those normally tasked with investigating crimes.
Davidson said he was optimistic that today's union vote would pass easily. He estimated this morning that more than 175 of the 276 eligible members had voted. He predicted a win by at least two-thirds.
As officers came up to vote at the Public Works Compound, they passed by many of their laid-off co-workers all dressed in red T-shirts emblazoned with SOS, which stands for "Save Our Sixty."
"How do you look them in the face and say no to that?" Davidson asked.