There's a shakeup in the City of Auburn Police Department. Both the Police Chief and the Deputy Police Chief are stepping down amid a number of proposed cuts to their department by the Auburn City Council in the upcoming budget. As our Katie Gibas reports, it's a balancing act between public safety and closing a multi-million dollar budget gap.
AUBURN, N.Y. -- Auburn Police Chief Gary Giannotta has been with the department for three decades, half of those as chief. His deputy police chief, Thomas Murphy, has been there for 38 years.
But Monday, both announced their retirements. In his resignation letter, Giannotta says he can't support the cuts called for by city hall. He feels they are detrimental to the safety and operation of the department and the people living in Auburn.
We spoke with Giannotta earlier in June about the proposed cuts.
"We don't really have any control. We give them the options, if they don't want to listen to us, they'll make their own decisions and then we have to go out and figure out how to make the department run with what we're given," said Giannotta on June 5th.
The city council plans to eliminate the deputy chief's job, a vacant detective position and a parking authority supervisor. Council members we spoke with say when facing a $5.3 million deficit, they had to make cuts across the board.
"A financial crisis is what we're facing now and what we're trying to do is come up with cuts, where we look at cutting non-essential services so we won't affect the services of the taxpayers of the community. And it will allow us to better position ourselves for the city's future," John Camardo, an Auburn City Councilor.
Camardo says he doesn't think the police department cuts will affect service. Auburn Mayor Michael Quill disagrees.
"Chief Giannotta has better working knowledge than any of us on council as to the workings of the auburn police department. We should maintain the level of service that we have. We should look for other means of cutting the budget. The city manager offered two proposals. The council failed to act on that. They decided they want to cut personnel in other areas on their own. And with the majority of council, that looks like what we're going to do," said Auburn Mayor Michael Quill.
The public will get a chance to weigh in on the proposed cuts Tuesday at the budget meeting at City Hall at 5 p.m. And by the end of the evening, the mayor and four councilors will have to cast their votes on whether or not to adopt the Auburn city budget.
A spending plan must be approved by July 1st.
Both the police chief and deputy chief's last day will be July 31st.