Public safety negotiations continue in Saginaw as the city's budget deadline nears. The police department handed out awards Tuesday just as they prepare to layoff several officers. Not everyone who attended the ceremony was welcomed.
The police union requested city manager Darnell Earley not attend the ceremony but he was there, front and center, with the assistant city manager for public safety, Phil Ludos.
It was a tense situation as the police union continues negotiations with the city.
Patrol officer Brian Wilson is Saginawâ??s â??Police Officer of the Year.â??
â??Itâ??s quite an honor,â?? says Wilson.
But Officer Wilson may soon be filing for unemployment instead of patrolling Saginaw.
â??I hope that if it does happen it's short term but I understand that it's part of the circumstances we're in right now,â?? says Wilson.
Three dozen police positions hang in the balance as city officials iron out the budget.
â??Weâ??ll be at least 55. After today, Iâ??m hoping we could bring that up to 60,â?? says Brian Lipe, Saginawâ??s chief of police.
â??Everybody is trying really hard to come up with some type of situation,â?? says Greg Branch, mayor of Saginaw.
The police union asked Darnell Earley and assistant city manager, Phil Ludos, to sit this year's awards ceremony out.
A defiant Darnell Earley showed up, praising the police department and its new chief.
â??There was a request by the union that they not speak during the event which is a non-issue. I have no further comment on that,â?? says Lipe.
Earley also making no comment while avoiding reporters on his way out.
â??Itâ??s a very emotionally charged and very difficulty situation for everybody,â?? says Branch.
Meantime, Officer Wilson and his family trusting city officials will work something out.
â??I hope that we can rebound to stronger numbers,â?? says Wilson.
These talks between the union and the city are ongoing. The two sides were scheduled to meet on Tuesday at 3 oâ??clock.
Chief Lipe says they may be able to save about five jobs which would bring the police force to about 60 officers.