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DPOA board member: 10% pay cut will hit hard

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DPOA board member Scott Pellerito shares his thoughts on 10 percent pay cuts for Detroit police officers.  (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) DPOA board member Scott Pellerito shares his thoughts on 10 percent pay cuts for Detroit police officers. (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

$32,000.  That's the starting salary to protect and serve in Detroit, one of the highest crime rates in the nation with one of the lowest starting salaries for a city its size.  Now that number goes down again.  10 percent pay cuts for many city employees start on Wednesday.

For police officers, "We were already scraping to get by in the first place," said Scott Pellerito.

They will see cuts in their paychecks starting August 24.

"We have a lot of people that are probably not going to be able to make their mortgage.  They may go into bankruptcy," Pellerito said.

He is an officer and on the board for the Detroit Police Officers Association.  How does it hit home?  Pellerito says it hits hard.

"I know of an officer that is collecting bottles to put food on his table, and that's previous to these cuts.  It's not just 10 percent.  It's the other benefits, as well, which amount to basically a 20 percent pay cut."

Rising healthcare costs makes the pay cut even worse, then there are the hours.

"A single family on a twelve hour shift that they're forcing us to do, where do you find a daycare center that's going to take your child on midnights for twelve hours," Pellerito remarked.

The mayor's office is imposing the cuts.  Members of the Financial Advisory Board appointed by the state, mayor and members of the council insist they realize these are tough decisions, but these are tough times.

"Nobody's running for office.  Nobody's getting big money.  Everybody's doing it only because they want to help Detroit be better," board member Ron Whipple said Monday.

"We're moving forward with all the initiatives, imposing the contacts," City Council President Pro-tem Gary Brown also said Monday.

All the protests and anger isn't likely to go anywhere anytime soon, nor is the pay cut, which takes effect soon.

The mayor's office on several occasions and the Financial Advisory Board have maintained that they need to take these steps in order to balance the books and get the city out of the red.  In the meantime, the DPOA says they'll be doing a little homework themselves.  They plan to take legal action against the city.

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