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PHOENIX -- Almost 2,400 Phoenix Police officers will be taking a 2.5 percent pay cut over the next two years to help the city climb out of a $37 million budget hole.

The cut was approved by the Phoenix City Council at Wednesday night's meeting. Other city employee unions had already been subjected to pay cuts.

"We're asking employees to reduce compensation a little to preserve jobs and services," City Manager Ed Zuercher said. The council gave Zuercher a $56,000 pay boost last month just weeks after he took the job.

"I can't put into words how disgusted I am right now with the current state of the city government," said Joe Clure, head of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association.

"The VA has nothing on the City of Phoenix right now. The Phoenix Police force is beleaguered. They're worn out, they're tired and they have given enough. I can't begin to explain the frustration level for officers."

Dozens of officers flooded the hearing that went late into the night. Clure predicted many will look for work with other departments, adding that the force is already down 520 officers.

Mayor Greg Stanton, council members Kate Gallego, Thelda Williams, Laura Pastor and Daniel Valenzuela provided the votes in favor. Bill Gates, Sal DiCiccio, Jim Waring and Michael Nowakowski voted no.

Clure said the union will look at options, including one that would put the decision before voters with a referendum in the fall.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jim Cross, Reporter

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