Budget leads to uncertainty for city workers - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Budget leads to uncertainty for city workers

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There's a lot of uncertainty for city workers.

And with questions over pay, possible cuts to benefits and even layoffs some Memphis police officers are deciding to retire or look for jobs elsewhere.

"We actually have people who are leaving daily," Mike Williams with the Memphis Police Association said.

Memphis Police Association president Mike Williams says the number of officers retiring or resigning is going up as the city debates the budget

It costs tens of thousands of dollars to train a police officer

"I think they want to reduce the force because that would give them additional monies in the budget," Williams said.

It's not just police officers. Memphis firefighters and other city workers are pondering their future's with the city.

"We certainly want to retain our talent and our staff but I think that one of the themes that's going to be recurring is just sort of what's the right size and what's the right level of services," chief administrative officer George Little said.

The Wharton administration has presented a variety of options to trim the budget - many aimed at city employees.

Things like cuts to pension contributions, adjustments to health care premiums, reductions to paid leave.

"It's tough times with uncertainty for all of us," Little said.

"We've got some very difficult decisions to make and if we don't make these decisions people are, that think they're going to get a pension aren't gonna have one," councilman Kemp Conrad said.

Councilman Kemp Conrad chairs the public safety committee.

He says something needs to be done and he wants the employee unions to compromise with the city.

"They resort to scare tactics when they can't argue the facts, they say we don't support public safety when we spend 500 plus million dollars or 400 plus million dollars on public safety, it's almost 2/3 of the budget if not more. At the end of the day maybe the city of Memphis isn't the place of employment for everybody," Conrad said.  

"Are people leaving? Yes, they are. How is this scare tactics for us? Check the numbers," Williams said.

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