GLENDALE, Ariz -- The fight to keep the Coyotes in Glendale has been expensive, with the city agreeing to spend millions to keep Jobing.com Arena operating. But the true cost of the deal goes beyond just cash.
It's not just the Coyotes who had a rough week in Glendale, 49 city employees received the news they dreaded. They knew the city is desperately searching for the $25 million to keep Jobing.com Arena and the Coyotes up and running, and Human Resources found some of that money in the jobs the 49 will no longer hold.
Coyotes fan Tony Hamilton questions the move, but the city says it's necessary in the face of its $35 million total budget shortfall. The director of Human Resources said the dragging economy and lower revenues are to blame for the layoffs, but he also said due to the current obligation to manage the arena, the city had to budget accordingly.
"What role is the new owner going to have?" Hamilton asked. "The idea that they're coming in to keep jobs, but the city has to delete jobs to bring them in ... it doesn't make sense."
The jobs lost are a mix. The largest group, 20 people, works in streets and maintenance. The library and Parks and Recreation lost 15. Glendale police lost five people -- a secretary, emergency services coordinators and a crime prevention specialist. None are sworn officers.
"That's hard for me to swallow," Gary Hershey said. "I live in Glendale, I'd love to see all the services stay the same. Obviously, you don't want to see your town go downhill."
The city says the eliminated jobs are only 2 percent of its workforce, but that's enough to make these residents feel guilty.
"I love the team, I love everything about them, but I think sometimes you have to sort of pick your battles," Hershey said.
City of Glendale officials said a few people in those 49 positions will be transferred, others will likely retire and the rest will have the chance to apply first for the few open positions the city still has.