The Cheyenne City Council on second reading Tuesday approved an omnibus amendment to the budget, with an item freezing any future full-time general fund vacancies.

"The intent is to freeze everything until [$116,934] is realized," said Councilman Dicky Shanor, who proposed the amendment.

Police Chief Brian Kozak says if there is a hiring freeze, it "could be critical for public safety services in the city."

"We're currently down two positions, two vacancies," Kozak told the council. "However, we have two resignations and two retirements coming up within the next 30 days, so that would bring us down a total of six then before the budget is approved."

"We're going to be short 26 police officers this summer because of military deployments, because of training requirements, FMLA and on-duty injuries," added Kozak.

"The dire shortage that we will be in this summer will effect every single resident," said Det. Aaron Willmarth, President of the Cheyenne Police Protective Association.

"If there is a hiring freeze, and we are unable to fill positions and get even lateral officers hired, we are not going to be able to provide services to the City of Cheyenne in an adequate manner that they expect," he added.

Several department heads and councilmen expressed concern over item 10 -- the hiring freeze -- but Shanor said the omnibus amendment gets the council "moving in the right direction."

"There's some work to be done on the budget," said Shanor. "But we can keep fixing it from here."


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