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  • Question on officers getting laid off

    The city near me has just announced a huge lay off plan involving everything within the city. (police/fire/public works/city hall positions) They are laying off 7 sworn police officers. Now this is just a general question, but will they lay off the 7 newest hired, or will they pick and choose, for example, an officer who plans to retire in a year, would they cut him? Hows that all work? Its a civil service agency. Im a new officer and not familiar with how the "getting laid off" process works. Im just concerned because I know a lot of the guys they recently hired. Im assuming they'll be safe, because they city spent so much money on training them very recently and they have good years ahead of them But who knows. If they cut a LT position, I assume that the LT would become a SGT. Its all new to me. Any info would be excellent.

  • #2
    Normally, lay offs are by seniority. So, the newest officers will be the first to get the axe. I suppose that they could try to negotiate with officers approaching retirement to make a deal to retire early, but that's up to the city.

    Realize that any of my info is second hand stuff. I can't remember hearing of a police layoff in my area since I've been in LE. From what the older guys tell me, the last layoffs they can remember were in the early 80's.
    "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
    -Friedrich Nietzsche

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    • #3
      Its going to depend on what rules govern layoffs for your city. It may be a city ordinance, civil service rules, or the union contract, Some cities may base it on time in rank, others may base it on total amount of time you were employed by your department, while others may base it on the total amount of time you were employed by the city in any department. It could be anything. You are going to have to ask your union or your civil service department to tell you.

      In my agency, it is predicated on total years of state service, working for any state agency and it can get complicated. Many years back we lost funding for a single Captain's position and someone had to go. The junior Captain (six months in rank) had 10 years with our agency and 15 years with other state agencies. The senior Captain (7 years in rank) had 15 years of state service, all with our department. But, because he had the least amount of total state service, he became the junior Captain for the purposes of layoffs and got demoted.

      First, they decide how many positions will be eliminated from each rank. Because upper ranking personnel usually have the right to demote in lieu of being laid off, they start at the top and work their way down. As an example, back in the 1990s I worked for a 450 member agency that had to lay off half its staff (two years later we merged with another department). They started by totally eliminating the Captain rank. All but one had enough total state seniority to demote to Lieutenant, while one only had enough time to demote to Officer. Lieutenant's positions were then cut in half and layoffs restructured again based on total state seniority. All those Lieutenants that demoted had enough seniority to hold at the Sergeant's rank. Next came Sergeant demotions followed by officer layoffs. On the bright side, no one wound up unemployed. Enough people from all ranks lateraled to really neat investigator jobs with other state agencies not affected by our budget cut, so that no one got laid off. On top of that, they wound up making more money than they got with us. Luckily, you only have seven people to worry about. But, I digress.

      There are a couple of things to be considered here. First, the need for layoffs usually doesn't materialize out of the blue. While management doesn't talk about it publicly, they usually know this stuff is coming well ahead of time. When they first find out what's headed down the pike, they often prepare for it by not filling vacancies that result from retirements, promotions, resignations, terminations and deaths. I will bet that by the time layoffs are to take place, several vacancies will already exist just through attrition, keeping them from having to let all seven people go. Next, many government agencies have laws that give employees about to be laid off, preferential treatment to lateral into other city jobs that are not affected by the budget cuts. You need to see if your city provides that. If so, it will keep money in your pocket while things get sorted out In addition, many cities give reinstatement rights to people who are laid off (it's usually reinstatement by seniority, even if you lateral to another city job). Again, you need to see if your city provides that. Finally, I'm going to assume that deep down, your brass are really thoughtful folks. If they haven't considered it yet, you might want to suggest that they contact nearby PDs and go through your state peace officer associations and state Chief's association, to see if anyone can do expedited testing on your people that are about to be laid off and if they pass, hire them.

      Bing Oh talked about the Golden Handshake, where enhanced pension benefits are offered to senior personnel if they retire early. I wouldn't count on it in this case. Golden Handshakes cost the city a chunk of change. If they are laying off personnel to save money, they probably can't afford to pay for a Golden Handshake.
      Last edited by L-1; 04-05-2008, 02:41 AM.
      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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      • #4
        Political scare tactics!

        Are they really implementing the layoffs or is it just a scare tactic to justify raising taxes?

        I have seen this time after time- when the city / county / state budget goes to pot they come to the public and start talking about laying off officers / deputies / troopers (or firefighters, closing fire stations, getting by with less ambulances etc).

        They don't talk about laying off the guy sweeping streets, cleaning the bathroom at the zoo, plugging potholes, the Mayor's administrative assistant etc because folks would say - okay, lay them off. They don't talk about closing any one of the agencies and special commissions they have created to pacify one special interest groups or another. They don't talk about cutting the city council / county commisioners / state legislators wages and perks- God help us if the Mayor doesn't get his $800 per month vehicle stipend!

        Politicians aren't that stupid- put somthing on the chopping block the public wants to keep and they will cough up more tax money!

        You have to love politics and being a pawn in their little games!
        ---Cut the red wire---

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        • #5
          It'll be the most recently hired 7. They're also laying off 13 support staff.

          Edit: Just found out they are planning to handle these "layoffs" by not filling 6 vacancies (for sworn officers).
          Last edited by DIRIGO; 04-06-2008, 10:26 PM.
          "A professional is a man who can do his best at a time when he doesn't particularly feel like it." - Alistair Cooke

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          • #6
            Attrition and leaving positions vacant will account for most of the "layoffs."

            Bonuses for early retirement will be tossed around too.
            All Gave Some - Some Gave All

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            • #7
              A lot of that depends on the laws in your state governing public safety layoffs. you may also want to check with your union and review your contract with the city. It should spell it out for you. One of the things I hate about Ohio is it is illegal for public safety personnel to strike, yet their agency can lay them off at any time. If I can't strike to protect my assets, then you shouldn't be able to lay me off to protect your's.

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