Furlough days causing controversy in Elkhart - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Furlough days causing controversy in Elkhart

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The city budget has been the talk of the town in Elkhart lately.

"We had to make extreme cuts in our cost of operation," says Mayor Dick Moore.

Mayor Moore says the city has done well, making the necessary cuts while still providing necessary services, but he expected that would only last so long before, "We'd have to go into public personnel, personnel services, personnel salaries and wages."

So now he's proposing a furlough plan.

"While it gives you a day less pay, it also gives you a day off."

But Elkhart Police and firefighters say this violates their contract. They look at it as a, "scheme to reduce their salaries." Their attorney Robert Sanders wouldn't talk on camera, but he tells me if the city acts on the furlough plan, they'll be ready with a response. Mayor Moore insists the furlough wouldn't break the contract.

"We have no intention of violating those contracts. We don't feel we have," says Moore.

Regardless of the contract, councilman David Henke doesn't approve of the furloughs. "I think just about across the board with the council we find that a very temporary move, not a long term solution."

Legal or not, he says with furloughs the city will lose either way.

"We lose morale, we will tend to lose some employees, we will have people that are angry and upset with the jobs they have. And we lose trust."

So Henke agrees with the police and fire unions, that furlough days aren't the answer.

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