The Seattle Police Department has spent more than $26 million on overtime pay this year, exceeding a budget set by Mayor Jenny Durkan and the City Council over the summer. Meanwhile, Durkan and the council still are at odds over SPD layoffs.
The council agreed Monday to approve a $5.4 million, last-minute budget boost for SPD, despite having vowed not to do so in August. But to make up for SPD’s extra overtime spending in 2020, the council intends to cut $5.4 million from SPD’s 2021 budget in January.
The former move may bother SPD’s critics, given that the council relented to some extent Monday. Yet the latter move is drawing criticism from Durkan and interim Chief Adrian Diaz, who are blaming the council for SPD’s budget challenges and warning that the potential 2021 cut would hurt the force, the Seattle Times reports.
The council froze $2.9 million from SPD’s budget earlier this year, asking SPD to save that much money partly by laying off bad-apple officers and trimming commander wages, Diaz pointed out in a letter Monday.
While such layoffs require union bargaining and won’t actually happen in 2020 (and while the commander’s wages weren’t trimmed), council members declined to unfreeze the $2.9 million Monday, saying savings from officer departures might still be achieved. They said they could revisit the question next month.