City Council gets creative trying to save fire/police classes

Report by Tanieya Lewis - email | bio
Posted by LS

TOLEDO (WTOL) - The future of public safety in Toledo is top priority for the city. Council members are searching for ways to deal with the mayor's proposal to cut the incoming police and fire classes.

Two chiefs took the hot seat in Toledo city council's budget hearings.

Line item by line item, members turned budget upside down shaking for pennies being careful not to touch the next public safety class.

"We can not get through 2009 without this class, and we can't wait until a half year is over. We have to have this class no later than January," says Council member D. Michael Collins.

Though it will come at a cost, and council members are willing to pay.

Council Member and mayoral candidate Tom Waniewski says retired city workers should help pitch in 10% of a $30 million pension pot.

George Sarantou wants to try part-time police officers, which is an idea Collins didn't buy. "When you're retired, you're not going to come back in and work the street given the total staffing level of the city and the streets aren't even safe."

Collins also didn't buy Police Chief Mike Navarre's willingness to go with the mayor's flow and do without new officers. "We are lead by a mayor who has pretty much put a gag order on anybody who'd speak, and this isn't Navarre's fault. The matter is, he's not allowed to speak."

Other council members disagreed. But they do agree that cutting classes will only create more overtime, overtaxing the city's payroll and it's public safety officers. Fire Chief Mike Wolever says, "It's not all fun and games making more money. The danger is still there. Fatigue will play a factor."