Mayor Wu Rejects cuts to the Police and Fire budget

Recently the Boston City Council unanimously approved a rewrite of the $4 billion budget for the coming year. Which includes changes that would take $13.3 million out of the police budget and $1.2 million from fire. Mayor Wu rejected the council’s decision.

Mayor Wu is pushing back at the City Council’s rewrite of her $4 billion budget, saying cutting police overtime is a bad idea because the law states overtime must be honored, no matter what.

Cutting $13.3 million out of Boston’s police budget, most of which is from over time spending, would “repeat the pattern over several years of overspending” for future incidents that need police protection, the mayor said.

The city council was just recently granted the power to amend the city’s budget. This power was given to them by the people of Boston. Before they only had the power to vote yes or no to the Mayor’s proposals.

“I cannot include a false reduction to the budget that would create unpredictability elsewhere,” Wu said. “We will continue to work through leadership, organizational improvements, and collective bargaining to rein in overtime.”

The 13 members of the council now need a two-thirds majority to override Mayor Wu’s new budget.

Mayor Wu is giving $1.5 million to the city council over last fiscal year’s budget to “right-size” council staff wages. The council still has yet to decide what to do with the xtra $1.5 million.

Most of the money taken from the police OT budget was moved to youth jobs initiatives and the council pay increase. While another $600,000 from the BPD would go to add staff to the new city Office of Black Male Advancement.

“This is an opportunity for us to find the dollars to make it happen,” City Councilor Julia Mejia said last week, adding with a smile, “It better come back as is.”

Mayor Wu has been under fire for her decision but has made in clear in the past that cutting the police’s budget would be difficult. Back in May, Mayor Wu pointed out that there are limits to how much the city can trim police spending. This is because the city of Boston has to maintain staffing and officers are entitled to be paid for overtime.