NEWBURGH HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – Tensions ran high at the village of Newburgh Heights special council meeting Wednesday night.
Council members are at odds with Mayor Gigi Traore over the hiring of a new patrol officer in the police department.
“We started the year with 14 officers. Now we are down to nine and we are stretched thin. Officers are working overtime,” said Chief John Majoy.
“My concern is that less than a month ago, they laid off three employees,” said Traore.
According to the mayor, the layoffs included two housing and building department employees, along with one service department employee.
“They said it was because of the budget. That we didn’t have sufficient revenue to keep those three staff persons yet here we are tonight,” said Traore
“We’re losing two but putting one back. So in terms of budget, it doesn’t cost the village any money. In fact, there is still savings,” said Majoy.
Despite all the debate, council voted unanimously to approve the new police officer.
The chief says the new officer will start in the next couple weeks. As for the other vacancy, the chief says he hopes to fill it sooner than later. However, council would still have to approve that.
“It’s very difficult right now to recruit officers and then to retain those officers,” said Majoy.
Right now, the village is faced with a $2 million budget deficit. Both sides continue to battle it out over what should be cut and from where.