City Council members gave their tentative approval to cuts of less than 5% for the Police, Libraries and Planning departments, but looked to cut at least 5% from each of the remaining 11 departments.
The Police Department is already lean as a result of last year’s budget cuts, resulting in the elimination of seven sworn-officer positions and completely eliminated police presence in middle schools, Assistant Police Chief Ron De Pompa said while presenting the budget proposal. De Pompa will become interim police chief after Chief Randy Adams retires on July 10.
“We’ve cut into the muscle and bone of our budget and are getting ready to amputate,” Adams said, warning against further cuts. “Once you amputate, the damage is done, and it’s very difficult to repair.”
A full 5% cut this year would require laying off eight sworn officers, eliminating several professional and hourly staff positions, as well as many community-based services, De Pompa said. The council indicated it was not willing to endorse such cuts, noting De Pompa’s current position will not be filled.
Council members expressed hesitation about making any major decisions regarding the department’s budget before the results of next week’s negotiations between the city and the Glendale Police Officers Assn. On many occasions throughout the daylong session, council members urged the association to forgo pay raises for the next two years as the Fire Department agreed to.
“We still don’t have a clear idea of what’s going to happen with negotiations,” said Councilwoman Laura Friedman said.
Previously discussed cuts to library hours are currently not a part of the preliminary budget. Approved changes would have minimal effect on library services, said Library Director Cindy Cleary.