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Posts Tagged ‘Mayor Baker’

In a press release sent out on April 23, Wilmington Mayor Jim Baker initiated a plan to layoff approximately 75 unionized city employees. The plan comes in response to the government employees union’s rejection of pay/benefit reductions proposed by Mayor Baker.

From the release, “Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker today directed Chief of Staff William Montgomery to begin the process of identifying and then notifying as many as 75 unionized City employees that they will be laid-off in the FY 2010 fiscal year beginning July 1.”

The release continues, “The Mayor said he has now regrettably been forced to plan for lay-offs because the Presidents of AFSCME Locals 320, 1102, 1102B, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #1 and International Association of Firefighters Local 1590 have rejected his request that the City’s union employees forego salary and step increases next fiscal year while maintaining their current jobs, salaries and benefits.”

The City currently faces at $20 million budget deficit.

In addition the proposed layoffs, “Baker has cut $15 million in proposed or planned City spending and requested $7.2 million in new taxes and fees for City residents and businesses.”

We have noted previously that the City should work to shake its image as anti-business. The move towards increasing taxes on businesses and residents only compounds the unfriendly climate in the city and magnifies the perception of being anti-business. It is no secret that the City needs new business and new jobs…sadly movement towards these goals is not occuring.

In his statement, Mayor Baker said, “The City’s union leadership has now placed some of their members in peril. I did not want a single City employee to lose his or her job. Our employees have done such great work in recent years to improve City services, and I wanted us to be able to maintain the current level of service to citizens, especially in police and fire. I thought that asking union employees to forego salary and step increases in exchange for keeping their jobs was a fair request. I am very sad and extremely disappointed to think I was wrong.”

Mr. Baker hits the nail on the head. It seems as though the unions, in forcing government’s hand, prefer layoffs. The 8% paycut proposed by Governor Markell is strongly opposed by state employees, the union and many others. If this proposal fails, layoffs may result at the state level too.

Any way you cut it, the City, the counties and the State are facing perilous times and most proposals will not be liked by one group or another. But the issues remains that the reason our governments are in the situations they are in is spending. And still, there have been no proposals at restraining spending through the short-, mid- and longer- terms to help guide us when boom times reappear.

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