While Mayor Mike Bloomberg is saying that he doesn’t want to layoff any city workers in order to get the city out of its economic funk, his office’s recent budget maneuvering has made layoffs all but certain.
Bloomberg had planned to layoff more than 20,000 workers earlier this year but the Obama stimulus package helped save those jobs. Not a year later, City Hall is moving back to original plan while New York City continues to see its unemployment rate grow. In Brooklyn, the unemployment rate is already a whole percent higher than the national rate.
According to the New York Times, the mayor’s plan is not to flat out layoff workers.
Mayor Bloomberg has announced that he wants to cut the city budget by $1.7 billion in the next two years. In the mayor’s budget, Bloomberg has added the cost of fringe benefits (Social Security, health insurance, etc.) to the cost of every employee’s budget.
This means that if an agency fires an employee, they will cut the cost of the fringe benefits as well. It may seem minor but they add up. An employee that had been making $40,000 per year could equal $50,000 in cuts if he’s fired.
The New York Times points out that if an agency has to cut $9.2 million, they would only have to cut $8 million in employee salaries and the other $1.2 million will be considered cut because the fringe benefits cost have been cut as well.
This move essentially pushes agencies to layoff workers while largely shielding the mayor from any blame even though it is a budget move that he himself made. A move that makes it easier for agencies to lay off employees to meet budget cuts over anything else.