Five Galloway Township Police Officers received layoff notices Friday morning, Nov. 16, according Police Captain Allan Kane. The layoffs take effect Jan. 1.
According to Kane, the layoffs and the proposed restructuring of the department leaves the police force at 48 officers. The department had 74 officers five years ago.
According to Kane, one officer has decided to retire at the end of the year, and four more are eligible to. Retirements could limit the number of layoffs leveled against the department.
Kane was unsure of the financial impact on the township the proposed layoffs would have, as negotiations have been taking place between Police Chief Pat Moran and Township Manager Arch Liston. Moran and Liston were both unavailable on Friday.
Earlier in the day, Mayor Don Purdy stated that nine layoff notices were issued to Public Works employees, equivalent to about a crew and a half.
Attempts to reach Public Works Director Kevin McDowell for comment on Friday were not immediately successful.
An unnamed township employee stated they believed the number of Public Works employees laid off is 10, two part-time tax clerks were laid off, and that all senior center employees were laid off.
Purdy stated the recently-opened senior center would not be closing, however. The former American Legion building on Route 30 was opened as a senior center in June, and that center hosted its first event, a Halloween party, in October.
Purdy reiterated Friday morning that he didn’t support laying off police officers.
“I do not support laying off police officers,” Purdy said. “I do support a restructuring of the department.”
Purdy added that nothing is final, and that negotiations continue between the township and unions representing employees and police officers.
Final layoff notices had been set to go out on Friday, but the employees switched union representation about a month ago. Purdy estimated negotiations would be revisited during the first week of December.
Layoffs were first discussed during the budget process, shortly after Arch Liston took over as Township Manager. Employees have been furloughed for the last two years, and the most recent round of employee furloughs ended last Friday, Aug. 31.
“Our goal is to make things fair and equal for the employees,” Purdy said. “We don’t want to rely on furlough days to operate the budget. Furloughs are just a band aid. That’s not fixing the problem.”
The township is attempting to fill a $1.2 million budget deficit. To cut down on expenses, the township recently closed the Post Office at the municipal complex on Jimmie Leeds Road, and spoke about a restructuring of the police department.
“I’m sure they can come to something where they can keep the numbers they’re at,” Purdy said of the police department. “I’ve not heard a dollar amount for what needs to be cut. Those negotiations are between the manager and the chief. I have full trust in the manager and the chief.”