Wednesday, June 15, 2011 | 2:04 p.m.
The City of North Las Vegas plans to begin sending pink slips next week to cut 83 positions in the police department, officials announced Wednesday.
The positions were slated for reduction in the fiscal 2012 budget approved May 17 by the City Council. The cash-strapped city could lay off more than 250 employees as it tries to plug a $30.3 million budget shortfall next year.
About $9.2 million will be saved from the police department layoffs, which include the following union positions: 17 police officers, three police supervisors, 21 detention officers and two detention supervisors.
Other positions in the police department slated for elimination include 36.5 Teamsters and 3.5 temporary positions. Some of the positions being eliminated already are vacant.
The final number of layoffs could be reduced if city and union leaders agree on additional union concessions, officials said.
“We’re continuing to talk with them and see if we can gain concessions to try to keep everybody,” said Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth, assistant to the city manager. “We’re still trying to find solutions.”
Mike Yarter, the president of the North Las Vegas Police Officers Association, said the layoffs break a memorandum of agreement between the city and the union, approved by the City Council in December 2010.
That tentative agreement saved the jobs of 11 police officers and implemented a no-layoffs policy for 18 months in exchange for union concessions, which included forgoing pay increases and freezing sick leave and holiday work paybacks.
“Apparently, the city enters into contracts with employees and fails to fulfill them,” Yarter said. “I hope they don’t do that with other vendors in the city. It’s bad business practice.”
The union has given up $18 million in three rounds of concessions since 2009, but there have been no city guarantees that future layoffs wouldn't occur, Yarter said. The police officers' union plans to continue negotiating concessions, but legal options are on the table, he said.
“This affects (public safety) drastically,” Yarter said, adding that staffing is now at 71 percent of pre-recession levels. “The level of service that police are able to provide is compromised.”
Other city positions possibly on the chopping block include 154 Teamsters, 40 firefighters, nine temporary employees and eight non-union employees.
North Las Vegas Police officials declined to discuss the layoffs until next week because the department isn't privy to details being negotiated between the union and city.
"We're obviously going to do the best we can with the resources we have," department spokesman Tim Bedwell said.
Sun reporter Jackie Valley contributed to this report.