Saginaw city manager to have police contract draft by next week

Talks about how to fund public safety in the city of Saginaw continue, after dozens of police officers and firefighters got pink slips last week.

Wednesday afternoon Saginaw County commissioners on the Courts and Public Safety committee met once again for an update on the city's 80-officer proposal to outsource police services to the sheriff.

City Manager Darnell Earley said it simply comes down to math.

â??Any person coming in looking at the budget is going to go right to the portion where you're spending the most money, and that's in public safety,â?? he said during his presentation.

Earley said regardless of whether county commissioners and city council members approve a contract with the sheriff, the city is preparing a balanced budget for the fiscal year 2014, which could include drastic cuts in the police and fire departments.

Earley told commissioners the current proposal was modeled after one that's worked in the city of Pontiac. The Oakland County sheriff department entered into a policing contract with the city in July 2011. All 50 Pontiac city police officers were transferred to the sheriffâ??s department with pay raises. An additional 13 laid off Pontiac police officers were hired back by the sheriff.

Wednesday, Oakland County Undersheriff Mike McCabe and Pontiac Mayor Leon Jukowski shared their experiences before Saginaw County commissioners.

â??The object, even under an emergency manager, was to try and make this a win-win not only for the city and the county, but for the officers as well,â?? Mayor Jukowski told commissioners. He said public feedback has been largely positive after the transition was made.

Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel, though, said his position on the deal hasn't changed.

â??I still have a great responsibility to 20 townships in this county, out of the 27 that have no law enforcement office. That's my first priority,â?? he said.

Earley said he'll have a final draft of the contract proposal ready for the sheriff next week.

Commissioners on the Courts and Public Safety Committee decided to defer further action until their next committee meeting on March 6.