The City of Fresno is once again cutting jobs to balance its budget. Tuesday, City Manager Mark Scott announced that 160 positions will be eliminated this month.
According to a news release from the city, the move will result in a total of 97 layoffs and numerous other impacted employees. The layoffs announced today, which will take effect April 30, are focused on non-field personnel in order to minimize their impact on services delivered to the public, Scott said. Only 7 of the 160 impacted positions provide direct service to the public in the field, and no filled sworn police or fire department positions will be impacted.
“These cuts are the latest in the extremely difficult and painful decisions we’ve had to make over the past two-plus years because of the economic downturn,” Scott said. “In this round, we’ve targeted these reductions to protect services in the field as much as possible. While we will be able to maintain existing programs, certain functions will be slowed down since these reductions will affect our ability to provide service at City Hall.”
Cutting the 160 positions will result in total savings of $1.7 million (including $353,000 in the General Fund) in the remaining two months of the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. In fiscal year 2012, the savings will be $10.3 million, including $2.1 million in the General Fund. Since January 2009, the city has cut 862 positions, or 21.03 percent of its authorized positions. Of those positions, 300 were filled and 562 were vacant.
The latest reductions are part of the City’s efforts to address a remaining General Fund shortfall of $2.7 million for the remainder of this fiscal year, which ends June 30, and a projected shortfall of $18.5 million for fiscal year 2012. Mayor Ashley Swearengin will present a proposed fiscal year 2012 budget on May 17.
As part of the fiscal year 2012 budget process, the City administration has asked all bargaining units to accept a 5 percent reduction in base salary. The administration also has proposed a permanent change in the city’s share of medical premiums for employees’ families, reducing the share from 80 percent to 70 percent. Those concessions would save approximately $7 million annually.
Without those concessions from employees, more and deeper layoffs will happen, Scott said.
The positions impacted in the latest round of cuts include:
• Public Utilities: 40 (32 filled, 8 vacant);
• Public Works: 30 (28 filled, 2 vacant);
• Development and Resource Management: 20 (16 filled, 4 vacant);
• Fire: 12 (12 filled);
• Finance: 12 (9 filled, 3 vacant);
• Police: 10 (6 filled, 4 vacant);
• Transportation: 7 (6 filled, 1 vacant);
• Internal Services: 7 (6 filled, 1 vacant);
• Personnel Services: 5 (4 filled, 1 vacant)
• Downtown and Community Revitalization: 4 (3 filled, 1 vacant);
• Airports: 4 (4 vacant);
• Budget and Management Studies: 2 (2 filled).
• PARCS: 3 (3 filled);
• Mayor/City Manager’s Office – 2 positions (2 filled);
• City Attorney’s Office – 2 positions (2 filled).
To assist employees affected by the layoffs, the City’s Personnel Services Department and the Fresno Regional Workforce Investment Board will hold meetings to provide information on community job and training resources and employee assistance counseling services. The sessions will provide employees with information on job resources services provided by Workforce Connection, unemployment insurance benefits, debt management, and public assistance. In addition, the sessions will offer information on continuation of healthcare benefits after separation, retirement, and services related to coping with change.
With the latest cuts, the city has addressed an $80.4 million shortfall in its General Fund budget from January 2009 through spring 2011. The reductions include $6.8 million in midyear 2009, $26.7 million in fiscal year 2010, $3.4 million in midyear 2010, $30.6 million in fiscal year 2011, $10.2 million in midyear 2011 and $2.7 million in spring 2011.
“We’ve been doing the difficult work of cutting our budget over the past two-plus years,” Scott said. “We expect one more difficult budget cycle for us to get through before we stabilize.”