High-ranking Toronto police offered buyouts as ‘comprehensive restructuring’ begins

Wendy Gillis

July 9, 2011

http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/1022559

Some of the Toronto Police Service’s highest-ranking officers are being offered buyouts in the force’s latest effort to cut costs.

In an internal memo circulated Friday, the civilian board overseeing the force offered voluntary exit packages to a number of senior officers and civilian managers.

The board is hoping 18 employees — who rank from inspectors to staff superintendents, just two ranks below police chief — will take the buyout, trimming $2.8 million from the salary budget.

The move is just the beginning of what police service board chair Alok Mukherjee calls a “comprehensive restructuring to create a leaner organization.” The board aims to slash $84 million from the police budget for 2012.

“We felt it important to start at the top,” he said. “Symbolically it’s important that the first group that we looked at are the senior managers.”

The offer is open to employees free to retire next year, allowing them to leave with a pension by Aug. 31. The positions left vacant will not be filled, and are in addition to previously announced retirements.

Eligible civilian employees include members of the Senior Officers’ Organization who serve in managerial roles.

Mukherjee is hopeful the offer will help avoid other measures, such as layoffs.

“We need to and we are looking at all options, which includes hiring freeze and freeze of promotions, and not replacing people who leave voluntarily through retirement or resignation,” Mukherjee said.

The cuts are also being made higher up because that will have the least impact on front-line policing, Mukherjee said.

The vacancies will be part of a restructuring at the senior level. For example, Mukherjee said the board has not yet decided if it will replace two deputy chiefs leaving the force.

In January, $7.6 million was cut from the police budget by deferring the replacement of all officers and civilian employees who leave the service this year.