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The City of East Cleveland is eliminating seven percent of its staff, which includes two police officers. The move comes in an effort to save the struggling city money.

“The goal was to keep as many officers on the street,” said East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton. “By not laying people off at the bottom of the ranks, we keep more officers on the street, we have more officers in our department.”

In a press conference Tuesday, Norton said he was faced with laying off as many as ten police officers, but he only had to lay off two officers. That’s because two police lieutenants and a sergeant are retiring, and the positions aren’t being re-filled. The money saved allowed Norton to keep more officers on the street.

“These people who are retiring are typically not on the street,” added Norton. “They’re not street level officers. They are for the most part in city hall or at the police station.”

“This is not a way to balance the budget,” said Annmarie Campbell, an East Cleveland resident. “This is a way to cause more harm to your residents.”

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