COMPTON — On a 4-0 vote, the City Council agreed at a special meeting this week to reverse some demotions in the Police Department and Fire Department that it made in June while trying to balance the municipal budget.
Councilwoman Patricia A. Moore abstained, saying the demotions were warranted because they would have cut administrative personnel and put more police patrols on the streets.
But faced with an outcry from police officers and firefighters, the council majority voted Monday to amend the budget to restore positions for two police commanders, two lieutenants and four sergeants.
However, four lieutenants--including the first woman to attain that rank in Compton--are still being demoted to sergeant, bumping four sergeants back to patrol ranks.
The budget passed by the council June 27 wiped out six of the Police Department's 10 lieutenant positions and four of its 14 sergeant positions.
In the Fire Department, three of eight demoted captains will be returned to that rank. All nine ambulance drivers, however, went off the payroll last week as ordered by the council.
Fire Chief Monroe Smith said the city is relying on Fire Department paramedics and private ambulance services to handle emergencies.
Despite the council's action Monday, the budgets of both departments will remain the same: about $15 million for the Police Department and about $5.5 million for the Fire Department. The council authorized a transfer of funds from other city accounts to pay for the restored positions.
Cmdr. Anthony Ruiz said $354,700 was taken from the Police Department's operations and maintenance account for this purpose. Smith said he was unable to estimate the amount of money needed to pay for restoring the fire captain positions.