The current Cleveland Police Academy class will get to graduate after all. Amidst state-imposed layoffs an agreement was made and signed by the City ofCleveland and the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association (CPPA) that will enable the 128th Cleveland Police Academy Class to graduate and to be sworn in on Friday, June 24, 2011.
By JAMES W. WADE III
CLEVELAND – The current Cleveland Police Academy class will get to graduate after all. Amidst state-imposed layoffs an agreement was made and signed by the City of Cleveland and the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association (CPPA) that will enable the 128th Cleveland Police Academy Class to graduate and to be sworn in on Friday, June 24, 2011.
The academy class was scheduled to be laid off last week; however with this agreement in place the cadets will be able to continue their training. This non-precedent setting agreement detours from normal layoff procedures and allows the Division of Police to better manage its resources in the wake of state-imposed budget cuts that are forcing the layoff of 321 city employees before June 1 of this year.
The deal, the result of last-minute negotiations initiated by the city, is just the latest in a series of maneuvers aimed at preventing layoffs of police and firefighters. Union President Steve Loomis said that in some cases union representatives went to homes or faxed waiver forms to officers on vacation. He was glad the union could help make a momentous occasion possible.
“I would like to thank CPPA for working with us to reach this agreement. This measure will help us to minimize the impact of these state imposed layoffs during these difficult times,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson.
The agreement will only cost the city $57,000 to have the class of forty two (42) cadets continue their police academy training and graduate as previously scheduled before the state imposed budget cuts. Upon graduation and swearing in, their layoff will be effective immediately. Once sworn, the officers will be certified for four years by the Ohio Police Officers Training Academy (OPOTA).
This allows these officers to keep their certifications longer and affords them more time to obtain employment while they are laid off. Without this agreement, the officers would not take the oath of office and would only be certified for two years.
“This is really the right thing to do,” said Chief of Police Michael McGrath. “The benefit is shared by these officers and by the City during these tough financial times. Having these officers certified also reduces training and testing costs in the future and gives us more time to recall them as Cleveland Police Officers.”
Currently 81 officers were laid off due to the State Impose Budget; Mayor Jackson was forced to balance the budget with the hand he was dealt from Ohio. Gov. John Kasich. The layoffs hit the city's public works department the hardest, but the cuts to police and fire departments, which make up about 60 percent of the general fund budget, are severe. The fire department will lose 51 firefighters and close five of 40 fire companies.
To save money, four police sergeants will be demoted, as will four fire battalion chiefs, three captains and 10 lieutenants. Jackson says the 145 seasonal and yet-to-be-hired positions will not be filled.
All recalls from layoff shall be handled under the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the City of Cleveland and the CPPA. The agreement does not prohibit the City from dismissing any member of the 128th Academy Class for violating any of the applicable rules, regulations, physical requirements, academic standards, and/or other academy requirements.