LANSING, MI –
Unionized Lansing police officers say they're optimistic about reaching a contract with the city that may avoid 14 layoffs. Mayor Virg Bernero has authorized the layoffs to help close a budget shortfall.
Mayor Bernero says the Fraternal Order of Police has been unwilling to make concessions to help stave off a $3 million city budget deficit. The union counters that the city has turned a deaf ear to many of its ideas. The police suggest consolidating precincts and paying more for their own health care. Tom Krug is executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 141. He scoffs at the mayor's suggestion that the union is being uncooperative:
"The mayor doesn't know what we're doing with the city because he's never at any of these meetings," he says. "We have had numerous contract talk meetings here on the open contract, and we have also had numerous meetings on this budget crisis. So, we've been meeting with the city regularly if he doesn't know what's going on, I guess he needs to get with his people who are at the meetings."
Bernero says the union is not negotiating seriously. Lansing police have been working without a contract since June 30.