DETROIT, MI – A judge on Thursday denied a request by Detroit’s largest police union for an injunction against pay cuts and work rule changes Mayor Dave Bing’s administration imposed in July.
Wayne County Circuit Judge Kathleen Macdonald, who earlier this month issued a temporary restraining order against the city in the matter, denied an injunction the Detroit Police Officers Association sought against the 10% wage cut and changes to work rules that include allowing the department to require officers to work 12-hour shifts.
Police union lawyer Donato Iorio said Thursday the union would appeal the decision. Iorio said Macdonald’s ruling “essentially says public safety is not a priority in Detroit, which the DPOA believes is unconscionable.”
The DPOA had challenged the city’s right to impose the cuts because the state’s emergency manager law, Public Act 4, is suspended pending a statewide ballot referendum in November.
But the Bing administration and Gov. Rick Snyder’s office say the city’s financial stability agreement, based partly on Public Act 4, will remain largely intact despite the suspension of the emergency manager law. The city’s April 4 financial stability agreement — also known as the consent agreement — with the state avoided appointment of an emergency manager.
City leaders this summer slashed the police department’s 2012-13 budget by $75 million, to about $340 million to help reduce the city’s chronic deficits. The City Council declined earlier this month to put a proposal before voters to increase property taxes and raise $56 million a year to hire 500 more cops.
Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. lamented the pay cuts but said the city needs the scheduling flexibility of 12-hour shifts to keep more of the city’s 1,500 police officers on patrol while reducing overtime costs.
Earlier this month, the Michigan Employment Relations Commission also ordered the city to freeze cops’ pay and working conditions while an arbiter determined whether mediation was required between the city and the police union. That matter is still pending, mayoral spokeswoman Naomi Patton said Thursday.
Bing said in a statement that his administration will continue to implement the new wage and work rules “as we continue to work to fiscally stabilize the city.”