Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 09/05/2012 11:35:54 AM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – Deep cuts to most city services were approved Wednesday in a compromise that delays proposed cuts to the Fire Department and makes other changes to the city manager’s budget plan that were developed over the course of three marathon City Council meetings.

The budget, known as a pre-pendency plan because more savings will be needed before the city presents it to a bankruptcy judge as part of a plan to close a $45.8 million deficit, cuts more than 100 positions and about $22 million.

It took some wrangling to get there, with repeated votes as some council members added new elements and tried to block others, and at times it involved council members yelling at each other, Mayor Pat Morris or City Attorney James F. Penman.

But it ended with a success for the city and the council should be proud, Penman said.

“You have just seen an example of the mayor and City Council and city attorney working together,” he said. “I know it’s confusing, there were parliamentary maneuvers, but that’s what happens in government.

“The people of San Bernardino can thank their government for working together to stave off a disaster.”

The plan sidesteps the first of two major points of contention that had threatened to scuttle the plan by avoiding any vote on the Fire Department for another two weeks.

Several council members said they could not accept Acting Chief Paul Drasil’s plan to cut the Fire Department’s costs, which includes rotating closures of some of the city’s least-used fire stations.

They pushed for an alternate set of cuts, including trimming management, in a plan that opponents rejected as “the union plan” because it was developed by the fire union.

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