Over at Philly Clout, Catherine Lucey found an interesting tidbit on the Fraternal Order of Police website. Union chief John McNesby wrote to his members that despite the terms of the recent police contract decision, he does not expect the city to furlough police officers.

Here's the full quote:

"As for FURLOUGHS, I do not anticipate them happening throughout the five year period of this contract."

This caught us by surprise. According to our calculations, furloughs (essentially temporary layoffs) could save the city as much as $165 million over five years. And when you factor in that the police contract also includes wage increases that will cost $114 million over the same period, you can imagine the city wanting to use them.

We asked Luke Butler, Mayor Nutter's Deputy Press Secretary, about McNesby's assertion. He said that while the city is undecided about how and when furloughs could be used, they certainly remain on the table as an option.

"It's too soon to say whether or not we would exercise the authority to furlough officers, obviously not a decision to be taken lightly," wrote Butler in an e-mail. "That said, given the serious financial challenges facing the city, it's an important tool and we reserve the right to use it."

The contract award gives the city the right to furlough all union employees for up to 30 days per year. Obviously nothing is set in stone here. We're not sure why McNesby believes furloughs won't happen. Any thoughts?

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