The City of North Miami Beach laid off 17 officers Wednesday, a day after the city council approved its budget.
After months of failed negotiations between the city and its police union, and after the city council approved the budget Tuesday night, City Manager Lyndon Bonner handed out the pink slips.
That means 15 percent of the city's 113 officers will likely be out of a job on Oct. 5.
Union President Mike Pons said it was a tough day for officers, so tough that the department activated its crisis management team.
"We had to institute that because a lot of the officers, they're still working at a high stress environment and we want to make sure that they're clear," Pons said. "It's a very emotional moment, you're losing your job."
The city is facing a reported $7.5 million shortfall this coming year and wants the police department to cut over a million dollars.
Pons said he offered over $600,000 in cuts earlier this year plus a 10 percent cut in officer pay and benefits, but said the city wants them to cut another 20 percent in pay and benefits.
"A 30 percent pay cut in less than a year, it's ridiculous," he said. It's just not reasonable, it just doesn't make sense."
Bonner said the city's finances were a mess when he took over a few months ago, necessitating cuts to some services.
In a statement sent Thursday, Bonner denied some of Pons' claims.
"The police union has yet to present to the bargaining team a salary reduction from the police union committing to any reductions to base salary," Bonner said. "There was absolutely no committment offers by the police union of any kind to the bargaining team."
Bonner called the $5 million in police union pension contributions the city will have to make this year "crippling."
"What is striking about all of this is that the police union doesn't seem concerned about the other people or services that have been sacrificed to maintain the staffing levels in the police union or the impact of raising taxes or water fees on the citizens of North Miami Beach solely to budget for the police union members being laid off," Bonner said.
Meanwhile Pons said he hopes to return to the bargaining table in the next week and do whatever he can to avoid the layoffs.