Job layoffs could still happen within the Victoria Police Department, said Chief Const. Del Manak.
His message comes after a department-wide email came to surface, where he assured his staff that layoffs would not occur.
“What I can confirm is that I am not anticipating lay-offs or job loss because of this budget development. There could, however, be reductions in positions through attrition over time as well as an adjustment of how we provide policing to our two communities,” the message read.
|In a Jan. 10, 2018 email Chief Const. Del Manak assured his staff that there wouldn’t be layoffs. (Twitter/@Tpolicing)|
The email was dated Jan. 10, and alludes to the same budget cuts which prompted Manak to later say nine jobs could be on the line at a Feb. 14 city council meeting.
However, at that meeting more information came forward from the Victoria City Council about where exactly the funding would need to be cut from, Manak said.
Council voted to eliminate funds to executive services, support services and centralized corporate costs, totalling $850,000. Additionally, they did not extend a contract for two officers to participate in the assertive community treatment team (ACT), putting the total to $1.1 million.
“Now they’ve specified which part of the budget they want to look at it’s more civilian positions than police positions,” Manak said. “Essentially they’re saying ‘maybe you don’t reduce cops, but you come with the $1.1 million in reductions of staff.”
Manak said he is aiming to keep potential layoffs to as little as possible, favouring instead to shrink staff by not replacing retiring personnel.
In January alone, 15 police staff – both officers and civilian members – participated in a retirement ceremony, with approximately seven retiring in 2019.
As much as not filling those roles might avoid job cuts, dissolving the outgoing positions won’t meet community needs, Manak said.
“Council I think is a bit naive, ” Manak said. “If I don’t have admin work I will have to pull cops… Why would I bring cops off the street to do admin work? It’s all interconnected, and while council’s intention may be one thing, it will have unintended consequences. “
Manak said that in January he wrote the email to try to ease growing tensions within the police department.
“This is creating a level of anxiety in the police department, people are worried and wondering who is going to lose their jobs,” Manak said.
At this point VicPD awaits its final budget as the city decides whether or not to include a $690,000 Employers Health Tax under the police budget, something that Manak feels is an unfair move as other departments have the cost covered by the city.
The Victoria Police Board is working on two revisions of the police budget to present to council; one with the Employer Health Tax and one without it.
Until that decision comes together, Manak said the possibility of losses is still on the table.
“I’m not anticipating it, but there’s no guarantees,” Manak said. “How can I make promises when it’s a moving target?”
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