15 furloughed City of Fredericksburg employees lose jobs. No other furloughs or layoffs planned
From The City of Fredericksburg:
As with so many institutions in our society, the City of Fredericksburg is adjusting to a new economic reality brought about by the global pandemic associated with the COVID-19 virus. The City Council recently adopted a budget for Fiscal Year 2021 (July 2020 to June 2021) that is approximately $6 million less than the original budget for FY 2020. The City Council appropriated the FY 2021 budget at 75% – an acknowledgement of the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.
The City is faced with making difficult decisions based on the economic conditions and uncertainty surrounding the FY 2021 budget. The pandemic has forced us to examine ways to reduce City expenditures – including, painfully, our dedicated City workforce. In some cases, the pandemic is forcing reductions in programs because they do not make sense from a public health perspective. The City is working in other cases to reduce service levels to lower overall expenditures.
As part of this re-examination process, on May 2nd the City temporarily furloughed approximately 40 employees through July 31st and implemented a salary reduction for all remaining non-public safety employees. In a continuation of these cost reduction measures, the City is having to restructure the workforce again this month.
Earlier today, approximately 15 of our furloughed employees were notified of their permanent lay off from the workforce effective July 31, 2020. The remaining furloughed staff will be returning to full or part time employment, with the same salary reductions of two percent of salaries up to $70,000 and three percent of salaries above $70,000 for all remaining non-public safety employees. The salary reduction will remain in effect into the fiscal year that begins July 1 and may continue for remainder of the fiscal year. No additional furloughs or layoffs are being planned.
And while the managed hiring freeze remains in place, we anticipate hiring certain essential positions in the near future as we strive to balance the City’s changing demands with our staffing. The City workforce has broad and varied skills, and we are finding that we need to fill positions with certain skills while at the same time other positions are being eliminated. But, this is necessary, in our judgment, to meet the changing service needs of our community. It is difficult to explain why we must reduce staff in one department, while adding staff in another department. Our city has often worked to adapt, but we have been pushed like never before to be nimble in exploring alternative solutions. We are in unique and unprecedented times here in the City.
These actions have been taken after much deliberation and discussion among the senior staff. It is always a challenge to meet the community’s service needs while providing a competitive and attractive package of salaries and benefits for those who work diligently each day to meet those needs. The current crisis, given its uncertain length as well as the unknowable extent to which it will change all of our lives over the long term, has made this challenge infinitely more difficult to meet. As we currently focus efforts on addressing our immediate challenges, we can do so with confidence that we will emerge from these challenges stronger for having done so. Even now, with these regrettable actions, we are enabling our great City to soon once again lead Virginia in quality of life, strength in economy and – as an employer of choice.
We will attack this challenge together, and now more than ever need your support as we do so. As in the past, we will endeavor to keep you informed regularly of additional developments.