Message from the Chief
January 6, 2010
Upon accepting my position as Chief of Police, I made a commitment to our elected officials, employees, and community members that I would ensure the safety of our community by re-building our police department, procuring adequate staffing and resources, and providing a positive environment for all employees.
My commitment has not changed. I will continue to do everything within my ability to ensure that our organization continues to move forward and does not move backward, and that our level of service to our community is not diminished.
In my last update, I attached a copy of the City Manager’s memo directing all departments to compile a Budget Reduction Proposal to meet the City’s anticipated $23 million+ deficit. The target that our department was directed to submit amounted to approximately 23% of our budget.
The SEIU, TOA, TSA, police department managers, the employee Target Reduction Results Teams selected by the City Manager, and the executive team have all had the difficult challenge of providing input on this proposal, which was completed last night. Our goal has been to mitigate the proposed cuts so that we can continue to ensure public safety, and provide stability and safety for our employees.
Significantly, one option that has the potential to impact this process positively is going to be discussed tomorrow, at this Thursday night’s Council meeting. City Council members are scheduled to evaluate a proposal for raising the sales tax from 1.8% to 2.0%. The City budget office estimates that if enacted, this would increase revenues by approximately $12 million. If the Council affirms the tax increase, and if approved by Tempe voters in May, this would greatly and positively impact the current situation.
I have attached the Budget Reduction Proposal so that you are provided timely information. All departments throughout the City are engaged in the same process. The City Manager now has the responsibility of integrating all departmental proposals into a consolidated proposal for submission to City Council. In early February, the City Manager will be providing the Council with a consolidated proposal. The City Council will ultimately approve any cuts that actually will be implemented City-wide.
I respect and appreciate that each union has an important and valuable role – to ensure that the needs of their respective members are met. As such, the unions provided their perspectives and input on the proposed organizational reductions. My role as Chief is to acknowledge, evaluate and assimilate those diverse perspectives and recommendations, and ultimately to put forward an organizational proposal that will benefit the overall organization and the community as a whole.
Let me make it perfectly clear – although I understand the City-wide budget problems and have complied with the directive (23% budget reduction proposal), this should not be construed as an indication that I support cuts of this magnitude, which would significantly impact public safety and the safety of our employees. I will continue to work closely with the City Manager, Mayor, members of the City Council, Unions and members of our community.
Our ability to accomplish a reduction that minimizes the impact on public safety is directly related to our ability to work together. No matter what rank, position or work group, the element that holds us together is that we are all Tempe police employees.