City cuts 319 jobs, sick political game ensues

The news came out yesterday about how many City employees will be cut in order to help balance Cincinnati’s 2009 budget and better position the 2010 budget which is projected to have a $40 million gap.

319 jobs will be eliminated in total, with 138 of those coming from the police department. That means 319 households across the region that will have to face difficult decisions in the coming weeks about their personal budgets. Potentially 319 people and/or families could be without health insurance. 319 people without the sense of pride one has from going to a job day in and day out knowing that they’re contributing to society.

These are tough losses no doubt, and it’s unfortunate that some individuals and organizations are turning this into a political opportunity. Yes it’s terrible that 138 people from the police department will lose their jobs, but it’s just as terrible that people from the Health, Public Services, Sewers and Water Works departments will lose their jobs as well.

It is easy to focus on public safety when budget time comes around. This is why you so rarely see cuts to police or fire, but often see personnel cuts in other departments. Public safety is after all a core function of government, but it should not be placed on a pedestal like it so often is.

These are tough times for our city, our state, our region and our country. We need to take a step back and figure out where we are, where we want to go and how we plan on getting there. We need to do so in a reasonable way that isn’t trying to score political points, but rather looks at the issues for what they are and discusses them in a productive way. We need to grow our revenue streams while we reduce our expenditures. Cincinnati needs to position itself to come out of this recession strong.

By Randy A. Simes

Randy is an award-winning urban planner who founded UrbanCincy in May 2007. He grew up on Cincinnati’s west side in Covedale, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s nationally acclaimed School of Planning in June 2009. In addition to maintaining ownership and serving as the managing editor for UrbanCincy, Randy has worked professionally as a planning consultant throughout the United States, Korea and the Middle East. After brief stints in Atlanta and Chicago, he currently lives in the Daechi neighborhood of Seoul’s Gangnam district.