For the second year in a row, the Greensboro Police Department is facing personnel cuts in the city budget.
The 2022-2023 budget was City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba’s first budget as the city manager. Jaiyeoba’s recommended budget included a property tax increase equivalent to 11.69 cents – by far the largest recommended tax increase in the history of Greensboro.
When the City Council insisted that the huge tax hike had to be lowered, Jaiyeoba mainly increased the estimated revenue, but also cut eight positions from the GPD to bring the property tax increase down to the equivalent of 8.69 cents.
In the 2023-2024 recommended budget, Jaiyeoba cuts 30 sworn officer positions from the Police Department and lowers the number of sworn positions by another 10 by converting them to unsworn positions.
The executive department headed by Jaiyeoba goes from 47.36 employees in the 2022-2023 budget to 57.36 employees in the 2023-2024 recommended budget, while the Police Department went from 813.38 employees in the 2022-2023 budget to 738.38 employees in the recommended 2023-2024 budget.
Greensboro Police Chief John Thompson, when asked to discuss vacancies in the Police Department, said the number had changed slightly because, “We had one resign last night to go to Burlington.”
Thompson also noted that Burlington had a 25 percent vacancy rate before the starting salary for police officers was raised to $57,000 and now the Burlington Police Department has three or four vacancies total, and according to Thompson, Greensboro has lost eight officers to Burlington.
But Thompson said, “Winston-Salem has 150 vacancies. If they do something bold and raise their salaries to $57,000, I just don’t know how many officers I might lose to them.”
Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter, who has been the most outspoken proponent of raising police starting salaries to $57,000, objected to the way the budget was being presented. She said the way it was presented, if she was in favor of raising police salaries to $57,000 – as the majority of the City Council voted to do – she also had to be in favor of raising taxes more than the 4 cents recommended by the city manager and cutting programs.
Abuzuaiter said the way it looked was “Because I want public safety that I’m being punished by having this put in my face.”