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Kingsburg Police are laying off 2 of their own

Monday, April 30, 2012

The City Council approved the cuts, after failing to negotiate concessions with the Kingsburg Peace Officers Association.

Starting Friday, two officers who have been with the department for five and six years respectively will be out of a job. But, city officials say, there is still time to negotiate.

14 officers, including the Chief of Police currently watch over a population of less than 12-thousand people. But, starting Friday, that manpower will be reduced to just 12.

Kingsburg's Police Chief Jeff Dunn said, "Going to these levels is obviously not ideal, but with these economic times, it is totally necessary."

Chief Jeff Dunn and other city leaders say layoffs have been avoided in the past, because they've managed to negotiate concessions with the Peace Officers Association. But, not this time.

The union has been asked to extend its current 5-percent pay reduction, 30-percent health insurance contribution and prohibit vacation cash payouts to save the city $240-thousand dollars. The Association said no.

Mayor, Bruce Blayney said, "The fire department has gone along with it, the city public works has gone along with it. But unfortunately, the police department decided to strike out on their own."

KPOA members say they had no choice.

Nicole Mitchell said, "The KPOA has accepted concessions for the past three years and unfortunately due to the employees and the kpoa members' personal financial obligations; we're unable to accept any more concessions."

While they want to find a solution, they claim city officials won't budge.

Mitchell said, "We gave the city an answer and they haven't come back to us with any further concessions."

Blayney said, "There's give and take in all of this stuff and hopefully we can come to an agreement that will work."

The layoffs were based on performance evaluations.

While the union is concerned with how this will impact people's safety, Chief Dunn insists the quality of service will not change.

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Tags:
kingsburg, fresno county, budget cuts, economy, employment, local
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