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PHOENIX -- Union leaders hope to let voters decide if Phoenix police officers should be forced to take a pay cut.

The intention is to place a referendum on the ballot, a move which is expected to draw opposition from city leaders

"The arbitrator, after two days of painstaking analysis of the city's budget, after hearing from the city's fiscal team, found that the city does have the ability to pay," said PLEA President Joe Clure. "This is about principle."

Clure stated in a news release that during negotiations two years ago, the process called for an independent fact-finder to review the city's financial state. The arbitrator ruled the city was not in a position financially to increase officer's pay, which would cover concession made years prior. The city urged PLEA leaders to honor the process, which they did.

"PLEA is calling for the city to honor the process," said Clure. "The city council, as you know, has refused, disrespecting the same process they insisted PLEA respect two years ago. "

In a news conference, union leaders were joined by city councilmen Michael Nowakowski and Sal DiCiccio. Both voted against the cuts during a heated council meeting earlier this week. Both men accuse Mayor Greg Stanton of avoiding transparency, of poor leadership and mismanagement.

The councilmen further allege that the mayor has been told that there are other options for balancing the budget, which he has systematically ignored. Some of the options that have been presented to the mayor, according to DiCiccio, include reducing or eliminating the travel budget, public relations budget, lobbying budget or selling city property.

Sandra Haros , Reporter

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