The Mayor took to the local airwaves this morning to explain the fallback provisions of the garage lease deal: a property tax increase, a wage tax increase, or a reduction of 400 police officers (as of 2009 audited numbers there are 1,116 people in the police department and the Act 47 plan counts 850 as sworn officers).
The Mayor went on to say, in effect, that cuts won’t work because the City is down 1,000 employees from where it was in 2002. That, on paper as audited, is accurate: in 2002 there were 4,352 City employees and in 2009 the count was 3,310. In that time frame the City has had only two periods where its employee count fell in the hundreds: 2003-04 (down 637) and 2005-06 (down 321). The biggest drop in the police department came in 2003-04 when the headcount fell 237.
But here’s the key: even with the decline since 2002 the City is still staffed, on a per 1,000 person basis, at a rate higher than other U.S. cities. This was true overall (40% higher) as well as for police (24% higher), which, incidentally, was supposed to be the department where emphasis was placed on moving more civilians into roles in order to allow for more officers on the street.