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Ripon cuts three police officers, 10 other workers
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RIPON — Red ink in Ripon’s city budget has brought a painful reduction in the city hall family of staff members who were visibly upset by their friends’ leaving their work place.

Faced with monthly losses of $100,000 in revenue, the city council said they had no choice but to reduce their staffers by 13 effective Feb. 1. Most have already left their posts.  The cuts are estimated to represent some $80,000 toward improving the negative monthly balances.

Four administrators – two in engineering and two in the building department – were among those who lost their jobs this week.  

Six members of the police department – three officers and three clerical workers – were also an integral part of the city hall’s reduction in its force.  One officer took advantage of the city’s golden handshake offer after serving more than 20 years with the department.  

A second officer left voluntarily and a third who joined the force in June 2008 was laid off.  Three non-sworn members of the police department to leave included a community service officer working in animal control voluntarily left saving someone else’s job.

Ripon Police Chief Richard Bull was deeply concerned about those he had to see leave his ranks.  

“Hands down this has been the worst week of my career.  These people have done nothing wrong,” he said.

 The department is actually down eight positions – four officers and four non-sworn staffers.   And, due to the foresight to freeze open positions last year – one for an officer and another for a community service officer – the roster was already somewhat lean.

The duties of the records officer are being shuffled to six or seven other employees in the department and some even shifted to the finance department.  The front counter receptionist was one of the three clerical workers to be dismissed.  Bull is hoping to find volunteers to help fill the spot.

The animal control operation is going to see changing schedules and a need for volunteers there too, Bull said.  The open hours of the pound will be reduced and the response to dead animals in the roadway and other service calls may have to wait until an animal control staff member comes on duty.  It may be as long as a 24-hour wait, he noted.

Two maintenance workers in the public works department were also relieved of their duties with a third considering accepting a golden handshake.

City Council members have expressed the fear more layoffs are possible if the economy doesn’t improve.