Galloway Township will lay off 14 employees, and more cuts could be coming, as officials attempt to close a $1.2 million shortfall for next year’s budget.
Township manager Arch Liston said Friday nine Public Works employees and five police officers have been notified they will be laid off effective Jan. 1.
The township is facing a $1.2 million budget deficit for next year. The township had sent out layoff notices to nearly all of its employees earlier this year; employees were told they would be notified of decisions Friday.
Mayor Don Purdy said the decisions are not final. The police unions are still negotiating with the township. If other employees retire or leave, it could free up some positions, he said.
"I don't support laying off police officers," he said.
The township has to find a way to cut another $250,000, so more layoffs could be coming, Liston said.
The township is negotiating with the Government Workers Union, which represents 44 employees in the township's clerical, communications and Information Technology departments.
The township will wait until Dec. 4 before any decisions are made there, because the employees just switched to this new union last month, union President David Tucker said.
Tucker said he met with Liston on Thursday and hopes to avoid layoffs.
A call placed to Teamsters Local 676 union in Camden, which represents the Public Works employees, was not returned Friday.
The township has announced other cost-saving measures, including closing the Post Office at the municipal complex and restructuring its Police Department.
The township plans to save about $200,000 by demoting the lieutenants to sergeants, sergeants to corporals and corporals to patrolmen. The five potentially laid off officers are all patrolmen.
Police Capt. Al Kane said the department is still determining how the layoffs would affect the department.
"The important thing is to remind citizens that the safety of our citizens is our No. 1 priority," he said. "We will do the best we can with what we have."
Purdy also said rumors that the township's new senior center on the White Horse Pike will be closed are not true.
The mayor said Liston, who took over in March, said back in April that layoffs would be necessary and has been working with the unions through most of the year.
"He wants Galloway Township to get back on the right fiscal side of government," he said. "I hate to see anybody lose their job, but local government is not in a bubble. We are facing the same issues as the private sector."
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