Alderman Suggests Cutting Police and Firefighter Wages

Alderman suggests cutting pay

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    NEWSLETTERS

    How would cops react to cut wages?

    West Side Ald. Ed Smith may have just stepped on the third rail of Chicago politics - if we set aside dissenting from Mayor Daley as stepping on the mother of all rails.

    Smith is suggesting that it's time for police officers and firefighters to take wage cuts like everybody else who works for the city.

    "We have stayed away from police and fire all of these years,"  he told CBS2's Mike Flannery. "But we are in a position now where, I believe, that everybody should put in some skin in this game."

    Flannery, though, says Smith's idea is dead on arrival. The Chicago Police Department is already operating at less than full strength, the Fraternal Order of Police would go into high tizzy, and the public's sensitivity to crime is heightened due to intense media coverage of youth violence.

    But should the idea be dead on arrival?

    Nearly two-thirds of the city's budget is spent on public safety.

    "They need to be talked to,"  Smith told ABC7. "There's no reason they shouldn't be talked to."

    One idea would be to force cops to take furloughs, like other city workers.

    But maybe Smith ought not be the messenger for such a plan.

    After all, at the same time he wants to cut cops' pay he wants to save Venetian Night.

    “Venetian Night is one of those activities that makes Chicago what it is,"  Smith told the Sun-Times. "People look forward to it. We can’t get rid of it."

    Sure. But if Smith got his way, how would the police department staff it?

    Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.