Bloomberg Announces Thousands of Layoffs

NY 1 - November 19, 2010

Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered thousands of layoffs and a long list of budget cuts Thursday in an effort to reduce the city's $3.3 billion budget deficit.

In his updated four-year city financial plan, Bloomberg details roughly $1.6 billion of cuts designed to balance this and next year's budget.

"The bottom line is we don't have the money, but we do have the obligation to provide the essential services," Bloomberg said.

Overall, the city's workforce will be reduced by about 2,000 people before the first of the year and more than 8,000 people in 2012, including teachers.

There will be a total of 6,000 layoffs. The rest will be through attrition.

A wide range of departments will face cuts, including the New York City Police Department, the New York City Fire Department, the Department of Sanitation, youth services, senior services and libraries.

Bloomberg is also calling for week-long furloughs at the Department of Transportation -- a move that requires union approval.

Specifically, the mayor's budget team proposes closing 20 fire companies at night, meaning approximately 400 firefighting shifts between 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. could be eliminated.

When and where those closings will happen is yet to be determined and will hinge on statistics, but with 500 civilian jobs cut since 2003 to make budget, Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano says there is no room to wiggle, and the FDNY will have to trim overnight runs.

"We haven't decided what companies. We haven't decided whether it's going to be 20 permanent companies or a combination of some permanent companies and some rotating companies," said the fire commissioner. "We're looking at the statistics. And, when we come to the best method to do it, then we'll institute it. [We'll consider] population at night, the amount of runs in that area, the amount of fires in that area. We're going to dissect all that information."

As far as the city's police force, Bloomberg will eliminate 350 civilian positions within the department. He also wants to extend the lifespan of police vehicles in order to make them last longer.

"Policing is always going to be important, anywhere in the world. Without having a functioning police department, everything else suffers. Your economy suffers, your education system suffers, tourism suffers. All revenue streams suffer. No one wants to come back to New York City the way it was in the early 80s and the 70s," said Sergeant's Benevolent Association President Ed Mullins.

Mullins says the department has been making do with fewer resources than they would like for years. He also noted more resources are being devoted to terrorism than before, but doesn't see a large negative effect on public safety with the reduction in police workers.

Aside from the big proposals, the mayor also wants to raise rates at parking meters and cut the amount of bread inmates at city jails get each day.

The latest round of cuts, according to the mayor's office, is in large part the result of skyrocketing pension costs. It also reflects an increase in Medicaid costs, after a lower-than-expected benefit was passed by Congress, resulting in a $180 million cost increase for the city.

Meantime, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is planning to hold hearings in December on which cuts are appropriate.

"The things we agree with, we will either agree with through casting our vote, or expressing," Quinn said. "The things we don't agree with, we'll either do that in a vote or through expressing our opinion and organizing. Either way, it will entail negotiations and discussions."

Because of the cuts, Bloomberg says the budget for the current fiscal year is balanced, but the city will still have to fix a $2.4 billion hole for next year.

He says actions over the last two years have saved $5.2 billion. Outline of Projected Layoffs Police Department: Eliminate 350 civilian positions. Reduce funding for maintenance of police vehicles by extending the fleet lifecycle.

Fire Department:
Redeploy staffing at 20 fire companies overnight.

Department of Correction: Eliminate 51 correction officer positions.

Department of Sanitation:
Eliminate 200 supervisor posts and redeploy to frontline sanitation worker positions.

Administration for Children's Services:
Reduce homemaking services.
Eliminate 80 vacant Child Protective Supervisor and other managerial positions. Reduce administrative and support staff through 118 layoffs. Increase Child Care Copayments.

Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services:
Eliminate 96 currently vacant positions.

Department of Homeless Services:
Eliminate 15 percent of security guards in directly-operated family shelters.

Department of Youth and Community Development:
Reduce Summer Youth Employment slots by 2,140. Reduce Out of School Time holiday programs by five days or nearly 30 percent. Reduce funding to 66 Beacon schools by 10 percent.

Department of Health and Mental Hygiene:
Eliminate city funding for Mental Retardation and Developmental Disability clinical programs. Eliminate supplemental funding for two school-based health centers.

Libraries:
Reduce subsidies by $20 million, reducing the average days of service per week by approximately one day per week citywide.

Department of Cultural Affairs:
Reduce subsidies by $8.8 million resulting in approximately 190 layoffs at cultural institutions.

Department of Aging:
Eliminate 14 staff positions. Reduce funding for case management and restructure services.

Department of Probation:
Lay off 57 employees.

Department of Housing Preservation and Development:
Lay off 14 housing supervision employees.

Department of Finance:
Lay off 129 employees to consolidate and modernize organizational units and create efficiencies.

Department of Transportation:
Lay off 35 managerial, administrative, clerical and planning employees.
Lay off for one week 641 Street Maintenance and Arterial Resurfacing employees, resulting in 9,000 fewer potholes being filled.

Department of Parks and Recreation:
Reduce the work year from 12 months to 9 months for 1,468 full-time positions to conform with the lighter workload in winter months.
Eliminate 15 percent of seasonal staff positions.

Department of Education:
Reduce funding by $350 million.
Instead of the loss of 10,000 jobs as predicted in the July 2010 financial plan, the DOE will face a loss of 6,166 teaching positions in fiscal year 2012.

Civilian Complaint Review Board:
Eliminate 3 investigative staff positions.

Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications:
Eliminate 59 call taker positions at 311 through attrition.