CITY HALL — The Budget Committee signed off on an independent Office of Financial Analysis for the City Council Monday, but delayed a proposal to hire about 500 additional police officers.
The committee included the council's independent budget office as part of the 2014 budget at a cost of $500,000 for six positions.
"It's designed to provide the City Council with independent analysis," said Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd), one of three lead sponsors along with Michele Smith (43rd) and Ameya Pawar (47th).
Yet a proposal to hire as many as 500 additional cops with $25 million to be moved around in the budget was tabled until next week.
"It's gonna come up before the budget," said Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd). "The chairman just asked me to hold it for this committee because they didn't have their ducks in order. ... So we agreed to wait a week."
According to Munoz, they've identified $25 million available in the budget, in part drawing from overtime already budgeted for next year. The idea behind the "additional new cops, not just to keep up with attrition," he said, is that it would eliminate much of the need for the $70 million the Police Department has budgeted for OT next year after spending an estimated $93 million on OT this year.
The proposal has support from law-and-order advocates in the council and the union Fraternal Order of Police.
The question, Munoz added, is exactly how many cops they might be able to hire. "That's what's in dispute, is what does $25 million buy?" Munoz said.
The delay kept the Emanuel administration from having to commit one way or another on the additional hiring, after it has put out statements saying, "The strategic use of overtime allows us to maximize every dollar available toward that effort."
Munoz said he was continuing to seek support to build a majority in the council either way. "We're working it," he said. "We're working it really hard."
The budget is expected to be published and deferred this week with an eye toward final passage next week before the Thanksgiving holiday.