HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - After a commission meeting got heated over police layoffs and employee pay cuts, Hollywood Mayor Peter Bober said there was no other option as the city tries to avoid a big budget deficit.
Bober told Local 10's Jen Herrera about what he called a last resort: the laying off of 13 police officers and 18 general employees and cutting the pay of more than 1,300 other employees.
"What we're doing essentially is keeping our promise to residents and tightening our belt," Bober said. "We really cannot put the full burden of this problem on the taxpayers."
Jonathan Rollins, who works in Hollywood's Parks and Recreation division said the 7.5 percent that will be taken out of his paycheck beginning June 24 will hurt.
"Right now, I'm struggling myself. I'm barely making it," Rollins said.
Other employees said they feel fortunate they still have a job.
Tuesday's reactions were much tamer than those Monday night, when in front of hundreds, the Hollywood City Commission, claiming financial urgency, unanimously voted to cut the pay for all city employees up to 12.5 percent.
The mayor said the decision the commission made was not easy.
"There's really few alternatives we have when we're facing this type of deficit," Bober said. "We have to take strong action, and it's very painful that it has to be this."
Hollywood residents said they hope the cuts do not have dangerous consequences.
"I think they can cut things in other areas and not so much the personnel, especially the police department," said resident John Disosway.
Police and fire unions are determined to fight back, but the mayor insisted that the decision has been made.
Hollywood Police Chief Chad Wagner said he will have to eliminate certain specialty assignments and put members of an already short staff back on the road. In an email sent late Tuesday to the mayor, Wagner said he will have to eliminate certain assignments and said his goal of maintaining safety in Hollywood cannot be guaranteed.
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