The Projo reports that Fung’s budget will be presented at tomorrow night’s City Council meeting, and it won’t be pretty — with proposed layoffs in the police department and possibly “two dozen” other layoffs in the city. We all hoped it wouldn’t come to this, and yet here we are. From the Projo:
…Even with the city standing to lose some $5 million in state aid this fiscal year, Muksian-Schutt said many of the layoffs could be avoided if the council approves the police contract.
She said that by tabling it, the council’s Finance Committee sent a message that it would not act on Fung’s efforts to negotiate contracts or gain concessions from the police or with other unions.
“It stopped all concession talks, because the council made it very clear that they’re not moving on anything,” she said.
Our Council is questioning whether this is the best deal we can get, and that’s what they are supposed to do. But it perplexes me why this level of questioning didn’t come up when the previous teacher’s contract was at stake, or the last firefighter’s contract, or the last laborer’s contract. Is it because we are in worse financial straits now, and the council members have a deeper understanding of just how bad it is and how hard they have to work to get the best deal? Or are there other reasons, such as not wanting Fung’s agenda to move forward too fast because that would be giving him power, and the council is not ready to cede this much power to a new mayor? Is Fung moving too fast? Is there reason to suspect that, because the police union supported him in the election, this contract should be treated with extra skepticism?
I just ask the questions. I don’t know the answers. My hope is we can solve this with civility and compassion.
I also hope there is good news in the Mayor’s budget proposal for the schools. Last week’s negotiated settlement with the schools that fell apart at the last minute was a disappointment. This week will hopefully bring back that sense of cooperation that seemed to be developing before everyting fell apart.