City officials and Alice Police Officers Association members reviewed a proposal from the city Monday to eliminate six positions from the police force and reduce pay across the board by 10 percent for a savings of about $650,000 from the police department.
“Our concern is we start losing officers and our crime rate goes up,” said Enrique Saenz, president of the Alice Police Officers Association. “It's a double-edge sword.”
Ten people made up the round table of city and police representatives to evaluate collective bargaining negotiations at the City Hall conference room.
The proposal stipulates a 10 percent across the board pay cut, removal of statutory longevity and prior year experience bonus pay along with reduced certification and higher education degree pay.
One side attempted to gain more ground while the city side said it was a “dismal situation.”
City attorney representative told the officers they were there to hear them out.
“We can't bargain away our furloughs or layoffs,” Alan T. Ozuna, representing the city with Denton, Navarro, Rocha, Bernal, Hyde and Zeck law firm from the Valley. “This will go towards preventing anything like this happening...it's not an encouraging situation.”
Saenz was skeptical about losing the six positions, fearing the worse.
“We give y'all this, but will we ever get it back,” Saenz said.
Saenz also brought up that if the city is hurting, why did they hire individuals and contractor for the Multi-Use Complex. City manager Andy Joslin said those people were hired for temporary projects and were contracted out.
After an hour of back and forth negotiations, the proposal stands as is and the officers will look at police department budgets and expenditures to bring back to the table.
“We want to look at where the city's money is going,” said Celeste Robertson, attorney with Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas.
The next collective bargaining meeting is set for 1 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 10.