CYPRESS : Police Angry Over 4 Job Eliminations
Officers here are angry over a recent City Council decision to eliminate four management jobs in the police department in order to balance the budget.
City Council members “are crippling our department,” said Officer Matt Robinson, president of the Cypress Public Safety Employees Assn. “We are very upset at these cuts being made at a time when violent crime is on the increase in Cypress.”
Over the past year, the city has reported more than a dozen drive-by shootings, he said. Before 1993, there was one drive-by shooting every four years, Robinson said. He said homicides also are up. There were three homicides in 1993 and none in 1992.
Mayor Richard Partin said eliminating the police jobs helps the city reorganize the department. He said the city is “top heavy with management.”
“There’s too much management, too few workers,” Partin said. “I’m sure the police association is very unhappy because (the elimination of four jobs) takes out promotional opportunities. But we have to make our budget work or else there are going to be more employees let go.”
City officials discovered last month that the city is facing an additional $238,000 shortfall in this fiscal year’s budget and a $1-million deficit in the 1994-95 budget. The cuts in the police department, which will be made through attrition, will help balance the budget by saving the city $340,000, officials said.
A captain, lieutenant, sergeant and a dispatch supervisor’s positions are the jobs that will be eliminated. The lieutenant and sergeant have already retired and the dispatch supervisor will be granted early retirement, which she applied for last year.
All the jobs will be eliminated by April 1.
Capt. Bob Bandurraga, who oversees the patrol division, received a memo from City Manager Darrell Essex last week informing him that his job would be eliminated by April 1, he said. Bandurraga said he will retire but “not voluntarily.”
Currently, there are two captains, three lieutenants, nine sergeants and 53 sworn officers.
Robinson said police, who have been at odds with the city over contract and salary disputes for two years, have not ruled out waging a recall campaign against the council. The union also is working on raising money to back a police supporter to run for a seat on the City Council in November.
“We will back anyone who will truly listen to police and the community because it’s obvious that this council either doesn’t care or is just not listening,” Robinson said. “We have support in the community and (the council’s) response is to cut police.”
The City Council is “destroying the police department,” he added. “Morale here is already beyond zero and a large number of officers are already looking for jobs elsewhere. That’s a shame. . . . This is the beginning of the end of the department, big time.”
Officers, their families and residents have staged two protests in the past five months urging council members to give police a 5% to 7% pay raise, hire at least eight more patrol officers and sign a contract.
City officials plan to announce the police cuts and other job cuts that may include the positions of the assistant city manager, the assistant city engineer, the assistant planning director and two maintenance workers at the March 14 council meeting.
Councilwoman Joyce C. Nicholson said she was sorry about the cuts but that they are necessary because of the city’s financial crisis.