EAST CLEVELAND-- Police layoffs are looming in East Cleveland, in the midst of a political battle between Mayor Gary Norton and city council.
On Thursday night, council voted to override Norton’s veto of a council proposal to cut the police budget. Norton maintains the city will have no choice but to lay off up to 20 officers. The mayor said, “This city council, by cutting the police department budget 25%, is saying they want 25% less police protection in East Cleveland.”
In response, council vice-president Chantelle Lewis told Fox 8, “Mayor Norton is lying in reference to that particular information. We carry the purse strings. We cannot tell him who to lay off. That’s up to him. He can manage the city a little better. He recklessly spent over the budget.”
The Fraternal Order of Police union local that represents East Cleveland police supervisors, maintains the layoffs will affect response times. Sgt. Scott Gardner said, “So unfortunately you’re going to have situations where domestic violence turns into more serious offenses, because we’re going to be tied up elsewhere with less officers on the street.”
Residents like Sherry Anderson are worried about the impact of the layoffs. Anderson told Fox 8, “It’s worse now than ever, and now the economy is down. It’s just not a good time.”
Norton said the layoffs could come within the next 30 days, and said he is asking the public to put pressure on council.
Chantelle Lewis responded, “We’re not responsible for layoffs. The mayor has to manage. Now he can finagle and move people around city hall. Right now, you’re paying $10.7 million in salaries and we only receive $13 million to run the city. You do the math.”