AUSTIN, Texas -- About two dozen Austin police officers have retired within the past week in response to the City Council rejecting a five-year contract with the police union.
"Seventeen members of the department have filed their retirement paperwork and set their date. I believe we have another six that have filed their paperwork and are setting their date," said Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley.
Department managers are adjusting schedules where they can, but Manley said many of those leaving are supervisors. Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday warned last month as many as 300 police personnel are eligible for retirement.
"Almost all the supervision from the airport has retired," he said. "We will have to replace all those people. We expect another 10 to 20 between now and the 29th."
Manley said he has promotion lists ready to fill the open positions.
"Many of these individuals are supervisors, so we are going to be in a position now to where we will be promoting men and women into the supervisory ranks or further up into the supervisory ranks and making some staffing adjustments as we move these folks into their permanent assignments," Manley said.
Manley said most of those promotions will come from the Patrol Division. However, he said those positions will be back-filled quickly.
"We are fortunate that we are graduating two cadet classes on Friday," Manley said. "We are going to be putting just over 90 men and women--new members of the Austin Police Department--out on patrol."
Union members voted overwhelmingly this week to end negotiations with the City of Austin for the time being.
"There has been such a mixed message sent [by City Council]," Casaday said. "We don't have a city manager to bargain with, so there are lots of reasons."
Casaday said he wants to give incoming City Manager Spencer Cronk, who was selected Tuesday, time to familiarize himself with Austin before entering police negotiations.