Chief Best was pointing out, correctly it turns out, that cutting staff would also result in firing much of the most diverse crop of new officers the city had ever hired. That's because under union rules layoffs happen on a last in, first out basis. At the time, Councilmember Herbold suggested a novel solution to that problem: Lay people off based on race rather than time on the job.
Chief Best, who is black, had a simple response to that suggestion: "It is illegal to make layoffs based on race and so I'm not sure where she is getting her legal advice from but the persons who are advising us are making sure we understand that it's illegal to do that." As I pointed out at the time, singling out white officers for layoffs would appear to be a pretty clear violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.