Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Jackson to lay off 350-400 city workers, blames state cuts

For five years as mayor, Frank Jackson has prided himself on managing Cleveland's budget with very few layoffs. He can't do that anymore.

Jackson has just announced that he'll have to lay off 350 to 400 city workers because of a $36 million cut in funds from the state. He calls out Gov. John Kasich, who called the mayor his "new best friend" in January.

Typically, Jackson is judging the governor by deeds, not words. The mayor's statement clearly blames Kasich's budget for the layoffs and defends his own management of the budget.

The mayor's complaint to Kasich and the legislature, re-released today, argues that since the state needs to cut 17 percent of its budget to close a deficit, it should cut the local government fund 17 percent, or at most 25 percent. Instead, it'll be slashed in half by next year.

The mayor also released a list of all the cuts he expects to make to city services: in police patrols, fire protection, slower snow removal, fewer flu vaccinations, delays in building and housing inspections. Layoff notices are coming in mid-May.

Here's the press release:
Earlier this month, I shared with you my concerns regarding Governor Kasich’s proposed budget and the drastic impact it would have on the City of Cleveland if it is adopted. Since then, I have continued to analyze the proposed state budget to determine what course of action the City of Cleveland must take to handle the proposed loss $35.7 million in state revenue by the end of 2012.

This state-imposed deficit situation comes after five years of strong budget management by the City, including the use of five-year budget projects, strategic cost cutting measures and significant increases in efficiency. By using these management tools, the City had the flexibility it needed in order to balance the budget every year with few layoffs and very little impact on service delivery, despite a global recession. Today, the state-imposed budget deficit takes away that flexibility.

Now, in order to balance the budget for the remainder of 2011 and to prepare for 2012, the city must reduce its workforce by 350 to 400 employees by the end of May. This will include seasonal, part-time and full-time employees.

These state-imposed cuts will result in service reductions. Despite these cuts, my goal is to continue to provide the best service to the City of Cleveland that we can. For that reason, I am continuing to analyze staffing levels and will finalize the specifics of our plan to cure this state-imposed deficit in the near future. As we move forward, I will provide you with additional updates so that you can understand the impact the state-imposed budget cuts will have on Cleveland.

Until then, you can find more information in the impact statement (
pdf) I delivered to Governor Kasich and the Ohio General Assembly and the presentation (pdf) I gave to my management team this morning.

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