The Chicago Police union ripped Mayor Daley over reports that he would leave hundreds of police department vacancies unfilled as he attempts to close the city's projected $420 million budget shortfall.
"It's a stupid move at a time when violent crime is on the rise in Chicago. We recently lost two police officers--and now, the mayor is gonna further reduce the numbers," said Fraternal Order of Police President Mark Donahue.
"This mayor -- or somebody in his administration -- needs to stop by midnight roll calls anywhere in the city and observe the number of one-man cars that are patrolling our city streets during some of the busiest hours...You can go to some districts and see every beat car that's out has a one-man car overnight."
The Chicago Police Department has 329 vacancies and 424 openings for non-sworn police employees, all of which could go unfilled if Daley follows through on his reported plan to lay off 1,000 city employees and eliminate 3,000 vacant jobs. Not filling the CPD jobs would directly contradict a City Hall pledge to add to the department's ranks.
On Saturday, Daley insisted that there is no connection between rising crime rates and lagging police hiring.
Mayor Daley will eliminate 3,000 vacant positions and lay off 1,000 city employees -- 735 of them union members -- to solve Chicago's worst budget crisis in a generation, union leaders were told Monday.
The biggest hit will be felt by Laborers Union Local 1001, whose members are in line for 300 pink slips in the Streets and Sanitation Department.
That's likely to mean major changes in garbage collection, tree trimming and other housekeeping services. Possibilities range from lengthening the time between pickups -- once-a-week now in most neighborhoods, twice-a-week in congested areas -- to privatizing recycling and shrinking crew sizes.
"They put an average of 350 trucks out-a-day. To cut 300 bodies -- they're probably gonna go to every other week pickup. That's probably the only way they can do it. Either that, or every 10 days," said Lou Phillips, business manager of Laborers Local 1001.
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