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Lawrence Police And Fire To See Layoffs

Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua is proposing to cut 115 jobs — mostly from the police and fire departments — to help close the city's multi-million-dollar budget gap.

Thirty-eight police officers and 32 firefighters are among the layoffs outlined in the budget Lantigua proposed Tuesday night.

Lawrence City Councilor Marc LaPlante called the news of the cuts alarming.

"Police department, 38 layoffs, fire department, 32 layoffs," LaPlante said. "I'm still trying to comprehend what exactly that means, but what I can tell you is it's very devastating."

Fire and police officials say the cuts are unacceptable and could threaten public safety.

LaPlante says City Council is focused on public safety, too.

"Our first and foremost responsibility, I think, is that our citizens are safe and when they go to bed at night," he said, "make sure that when they do have a problem and they call police, it's going to be a response and it's going to be fast."

Mayor Lantigua, who says he regrets the proposed cuts but had to present the budget, is calling on union officials to make concessions by July 1 in order to save some jobs.

City Council now takes up the budget proposal.

This program aired on June 2, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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