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Jacksonville's FOP: No Union Officer Vote Anytime Soon

5:10 PM, Oct 6, 2011   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- With Sheriff John Rutherford refusing to rule out future layoffs and public outcry increasing, the police union is not expecting a union vote anytime soon.

"Until we get an offer from the current adminstration there is nothing my officers can reject or agree to," said Fraternal Order of Police President Nelson Cuba.

Cuba said he's still trying to understand the sheriff's comment that 34 more officers would be laid off next spring if he cannot get the permission from the city to hire a private vendor to maintain police vehicles. The sheriff estimated the move away from city fleet management would save his department $1.5 million.

The police union and the city are currently at an impasse on a contract, but are still talking, said Cuba.

Earlier this year, the union rejected an offer from then-Mayor John Peyton asking officers to take a 2 percent pay cut.

Rutherford on Wednesday said while explaining the layoff of 48 patrol officers that if the union had agreed to a pay cut, those officers would not have been let go.

City Council Finance Chair Richard Clark said the sheriff's proposal to go private is still being studied at city hall. Clark said he favors the idea if the numbers work.

"We need to make sure that the claims of outside vendors are accurate and not just somebody who wants the business," said Clark.

Clark said he elieves the city council by the end of the year will be ready to decide if private vendors can give the city a better deal.


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