By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -
Saginaw City leaders and police union leaders are expected to meet to discuss contracts Thursday morning.
Police Union president Doug Wortley says he plans to bring a couple ideas to the table.
This meeting comes after city leaders once again asked county leaders to consider contracting out police services Wednesday night.
After repeated refusals, they went back to Saginaw County with their plan to contract police patrols with the sheriff's department while they begged the commission to reconsider.
"I believe in fact this is good for the county and good for the city," Saginaw City Assistant Manager Phil Ludos told the Saginaw County Courts and Public Safety Board Wednesday night.
Ludos once again asked the county commission to consider contracting out sheriff's services to patrol city streets and, as he's done every other time he's been asked, Sheriff Bill Federspiel says no deal.
"I know that the city would like to have this happen quickly, but I say at what expense? It cannot be at the expense of our future, it can't be at the expense of a failed model," said Federspiel.
The city's proposal calls for 84 deputies patrolling city streets. Federspiel said he needs 108 to do it the right way while saying safety needs to come before savings.
Ludos told the board if they aren't willing to help, the city will be forced to take drastic steps to reduce the deficit.
"I think that our solution is, under the 80 plus four, is really positive, but do we need to contract with him? No, we need to hit that $3.1 million number, that's really the bottom line," said Ludos.
Ludos said that likely means chopping the city police force down to 55. This is something Saginaw Police Union President Doug Wortley said is just a scare tactic.
"He brought everything out of the closet, in my opinion, but the boogie man, trying to scare this commission in saying, oh, 55 officers, crime's going to run rampant," said Wortley.
Wortley said he's glad the sheriff is sticking to his guns. Wortley said he believes the city is trying to railroad the sheriff, along with the county, to sign on. But Ludos said the deficit is real and will be taken care of.
At the courts and public safety commission meeting, Assistant City Manager Phil Ludos outlined next year's budget deficit and how it could affect city policing. Ludos says the number of officers could drop down to 55 officers.
He once again proposed a deal with the sheriff to contract with the city and provide 84 officers within city limits. But this is something the sheriff says he will not agree to.
Ludos hopes the city and the unions will work out a way to battle the budget deficit in Thursday's meeting. That meeting begins at 10 a.m.
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