AREA NEWSThe Northern Westchester Examiner

Peekskill Employees Protest Proposed Budget Layoffs

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Police, fire and labor unions demonstrated outside and inside Peekskill City Hall Tuesday night to protest 40 proposed layoffs in the 2013 budget.

Acting City Manager Brian Havranek released his proposed spending plan October 1 that also included a six percent tax hike, but union leaders and residents blamed Mayor Mary Foster and the Common Council for trying the balance the budget on the backs of workers.

Activist Darrell Davis and public access cable host George Ondek even called on Foster to resign.

“You can’t blame Albany. When are you going to take responsibility? Everything is always somebody’s else’s fault,”Davis said.

City officials have contended a 21.5% increase in pension costs from the state and a 12% hike in health insurance premiums were largely to blame for the need to reduce the city’s workforce, including five positions in the Police Department.

“We’re very concerned about what that does to you and the anxiety it causes you,” Foster said to a raucous standing-room only crowd. “We know this is not an easy time for anyone. We ask you to bear with us.”

“The cuts you are imposing are detrimental to every resident and every employee in this city,” said firefighter Kevin Ferris. “I didn’t create this problem. It’s up to you to step up and resolve it.”

A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for October 22 at City Hall.

For more on this story, look for the October 16 issue of the Northern Westchester Examiner

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