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Union-Side Labor Lawyer Richard Poulson Speaks on Upper Merion, Pennsylvania Budget Issues

December 10, 2009

Upper Merion Police May Feel Budget Ax

UPPER MERION, Pa. - A battle to balance Upper Merion’s budget turns into a fight for the township's police force.

Angry voices greeted the Township Board of Supervisors as residents came to defend their police department from layoffs. The board passed a resolution Thursday night to approve their budget for 2010 and, if need be, shed four police officers to balance the budget.

“We have good professional staff, we really rely on them and we’ve invested training in them and we know we’ve selected good people working for us and we really don’t want to see their families suffer. We think the best course is that everybody take little bit of the load,” says Scott Sibley of Upper Merion Township.

Due to the harsh economic times and declining revenue, the township asked all employees to take furloughs, one day a month for 12 months.

The police department is under contract and has to go through the bargaining unit - and they will not cave.

“We are told they have reserve accounts. Prior to asking us to do this, they have not provided us with any documentation whatsoever of their financial state,” says Corporal Andy Findler of Upper Merion police. “At this point, I think the officers are gonna get laid off, frankly. I mean, we feel like they still have other options and we hope they use them.”

The bargaining unit and the township board will meet again Monday.

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