Friday, February 15, 2013


Mark Tower | mtower@mlive.comBy Mark Tower | 
on February 15, 2013 at 5:00 PM, updated February 15, 2013 at 5:29 PM
Pontiac visitView full sizeSaginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel spoke at the Courts and Public Safety Committee meeting Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013. Standing behind Federspiel are Pontiac Mayor Leon Jukowski and Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe. 
SAGINAW, MI — At long last, Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel has received a draft contract for police services that has dominated the dialog of both city and county government leaders for months.
But Federspiel said, for various reasons, he is not prepared to negotiate a contract with the city. One of those reasons, he said, is the number of officers set forward in the contract.
"It's 80 plus four," Federspiel said. "Which is exactly what I said emphatically no to. I'm still saying no."
The sheriff said he also does not intend to negotiate a contract with the city without support from the police unions.
"I'm not going to be the leverage point to break that contract," Federspiel said. "They still have more work to do, obviously."
During a county committee meeting on Feb. 6, City Manager Darnell Earley announced that the city planned to provide the contract "early next week." In reality, Federspiel did not receive the document in the mail until late in the afternoon Friday, Feb. 15.
In the letter, Earley asked Federspiel to review the contract language and come back to city administration with any comments or questions.
"Our goal is to put before the City Council a tentative agreement that can be reached after your review, negotiation, and whatever discussion of the provisions contained therein you may feel necessary," Earley wrote. "The City of Saginaw is anxious to move this process forward, and in that regard we look forward to your prompt response."
A contract with the sheriff is Earley's recommended alternative to deep staffing cuts at the fire department, which he said would be necessary to help the city close a $3.2 million budget deficit.
After city leaders asked the sheriff to provide data on the cost of a contract, Federspiel delivered a proposal with 103 full-time sworn officers. The cost laid out in that initial proposal started at $7.3 million in the first year and rose to $9.6, million in the fifth year of the contract.
After a committee reviewing the city's options reported that the staffing number in that initial plan was not sustainable, Saginaw administration came back to the sheriff with a new proposal for 80 full-time sworn officers. The contract cost in the new plan started at nearly $5.8 million and rose to more than $7.5 million in year five.
City officials sent out layoff notices to both police officers and firefightersearlier this month. If it is still necessary, according to officials, those layoffs would take effect on July 1, 2013, the first day of the city's new fiscal year.
Acting Police Chief Brian Lipe said, if the layoffs do take effect on July 1, he has a plan for the reduced police force.
Saginaw city administration, which has been seeking support for months from the Saginaw County Board of Commissioners, have been invited to return to the county's Courts and Public Safety Committee meeting set for Wednesday, March 6.
Per the Saginaw City Charter, Earley is required to present a balanced budget to city council by the last Monday in April. 
Mark Tower Email Facebook Twitter | 989-284-4807

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