• 66°

Cutting police not answer for safety

Barely one month ago, Ironton City Council members approved a budget for the rest of 2012, with several of them passing off the flawed plan that did little to address growing expenses as if it was a significant victory.

Now, Ironton citizens have been informed that approximately one third of the city’s police force will be laid off, a move that certainly looks to be a scare tactic towards the citizens who have balked at fee increases or the city’s unions that are in contract negotiations.

These cuts do not even include laying off four police dispatchers a little earlier than expected, a somewhat premature move as an alternative dispatch solution has yet to be finalized.

At no time during the numerous budget meetings was it clearly outlined for the public that the police force would be decimated like this.

Mayor Rich Blankenship has to meet certain requirements under the collective bargaining agreements of the individual unions and it was understood some layoffs would be necessary if concessions were not made.

But the negotiations are far from complete and to make this move now certainly raises questions whether these will continue in good faith.

If the circumstances were so dire then the council and the mayor should have taken more steps during the budget process instead of pushing these decisions off until the future, which apparently came much sooner than many expected.

It certainly appears that the early celebration had a significant cost and public safety may have been the price.