Posts Tagged ‘tucson public unions’

25th April
2011
written by clothcutter

Translation:¬† If you don’t approve to tax yourself more to support an inept (and possibly corrupt)¬†municipality, kiss off!

City may cut, end furlough days for some
Rob O’Dell Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
Posted: Monday, April 25, 2011 12:00 am
 
To appease unions upset at the city’s ongoing budget cuts, the City Council on Tuesday will consider ending furloughs for some employees and halving the furloughs for most employees if the economy improves.

The city has had unpaid furloughs for two years, and will continue them for the fiscal year that begins July 1. For next year, employees again were facing nine furlough days, which constitutes 3.5 percent of their salaries.

Union officials, including those in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, have urged for months to end furloughs for those employees in enterprise departments such as Tucson Water and Environmental Services. Union officials also want to end furloughs for any city employee who is funded with grant money from the state or the federal government.

Top city officials had been hesitant to agree, in part because eliminating furlough for some departments and not others can raise issues of equitable treatment. The issue is particularly problematic with grant funding because employees in the same departments could be paid through different funding sources.

But the council will consider a new plan that guarantees employees paid by the general fund and Tucson Water workers will have only five furlough days. They would need to be taken between July and December. The remaining four furlough days could be waived if the economy improves and the city’s budget is in better condition at midyear.

Employees in Environmental Services and those who are funded by grants could see their furloughs end by July and have no furloughs next year, said City Finance Director Kelly Gottschalk. The city will still have to work on the employee-equity issue for grant-funded employees, she added.

For example, more than 50 police officer positions are grant-funded, but the city doesn’t want to force officers not funded by the grant to take furloughs, while treating those funded by the grant differently, Gottschalk said.

“We’ll look at grant-funded employees grant by grant,” Gottschalk said.

The unions originally had sought an increase in the furloughs in early 2010 as a way to stave off massive city layoffs at the height of the city’s budget crisis.

Michael Coiro, the executive director of AFSCME Local 449, said he’s happy about ending the furloughs in Environmental Services and grant-funded positions, as well as the possibility employees paid out of the city general fund could have their furloughs nearly halved.

But he said he won’t accept that the furloughs for Tucson Water remain. He said city leaders have been hesitant to reduce those employees’ furloughs because they don’t want water users to pay more.

Coiro said city residents turned down a request to raise the city sales tax to pay for services, so he isn’t concerned about that.

“The users denied the tax,” Coiro said. “My heart is not bleeding for the citizens.¬† My heart is bleeding for the employees.”

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