Facing a potential budget crisis for the 2008 fiscal year, Lansing Township board members Tuesday night heatedly debated putting a hiring freeze on the police and fire departments.
This comes even after voters passed a nearly $350,000 millage last year to buff up public safety. But after an exhaustive discussion, board members unanimously voted to let police and fire bring their departments up to full staff.
"I'm hesitantly pleased," says Lansing Twp. Police Chief Kay Hoffman.
She's only hesitantly pleased because of the very real possibility those new hires will be laid off early 2008. The community is bracing for the growing financial aftermath of GM's two area closures.
"I'm not completely comfortable with the caveat that if I hire someone new, they may be let go months later," she says.
"In the 18 years I've worked for Lansing Township, we've never had to lay someone off soon after they were hired. We've never had to even say that," says treasurer Kathy Rodgers.
In the short term, the public safety workers are relieved. Both police and fire have been operating under-staffed for the past few monthys, forcing staff to work overtime a few times a week.
Both departments are close to making decisions on who to hire, but now they'll have to inform the candidates their potential jobs may only be temporary. Come 2008, being fully staffed might have a whole new meaning.