Freeze Eases Budget Challenges
September 24, 2009 2:17 PM
In response to dramatically reduced revenues due to the deep recession, I put a freeze on City hiring. This freeze is sometimes referred to as a "soft freeze" in that positions can be approved for hiring after a review in my office.
To date a total of 87 positions have come to my office for approval. (Beyond those 87 positions some positions have been left open and no request for filling them has been made.) Of those requests 44 have been approved for hiring, 10.5 have been delayed to various dates in the fall and 32.5 have been delayed at least until the end of this year. I should note that 20 of the 44 that were approved for immediate hiring were the Fire Department's fall recruit class.
The bottom line result is that we expect that these delays in hiring will save approximately $1.5 million in the City's 2009 budget. In addition, I also asked for a 20% cut in travel and that will save over $100,000.
What this means is that of the $4 million deficit that the Comptroller projects for the end of this year, 40% of it will be made up for by these two actions - the hiring freeze and the travel cut. While it still means that the City's fund balance will have to be reduced by the remaining amount, the hiring freeze has made a significant contribution to reducing the draw on our fund balance, which is essentially our long term savings account. One of the reasons that we've maintained our Aaa bond rating in the face of tougher scrutiny than ever before is that we've maintained a healthy fund balance.
Because we face continued hard times in our 2010 budget, I plan to keep the hiring freeze in place for all of next year.