DALLAS — Cuts are coming to Dallas police and firefighters, and this time, there isn't a choice.
Representatives of police and fire unions met with City Council members and the city manager to discuss the options, but even a compromise will mean deep cuts.
The officers and firefighters complain that their pay will be impacted. City Manager Mary Suhm says it is becoming increasingly more difficult to reach any kind of agreement.
Hundreds of public safety workers walked into the Pallidium Tuesday evening hoping to hear some better news.
"They were very very frustrated," said Glenn White of the Dallas Police Association. "A lot of frustration."
They asked Suhm not to cut their pay or make them take unpaid days to help make up the city's $130 million budget deficit. Many favor tax increases as an option.
"We are basically wondering why public safety has to take the furlough days and pay cuts," White said. "If we have pain that has to be shared, we are looking at the taxpayers who are going to have to pay more taxes."
Suhm maintains there really is no way around the cuts. Police and firefighters will have to take about a five percent hit in a combination of furlough days and a pay cut.
Suhm left the meeting under police escort. She declined to answer questions about the meeting, saying, "That's the agreement I made."
Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway tried to take a more diplomatic approach, saying there is nothing set in stone yet. "Mary stood strong to suggest and say that everything is still on the table for discussion," he said.
Sources said the city manager has made a four-year offer to the police and fire associations. They would basically accept five percent pay cuts for two years, with some of those cuts restored in the third and fourth years of the agreement. There would also be a possibility of additional holidays.
But right now, the offer sits on the table and the two sides are hashing it out.
"If you're going to beat us with a stick, then let us have input with the stick we are going to be beat with and have input and ideas," White said.