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NYC Freezes Hiring Because Of Senate Gridlock

bma.jpgAlbany chaos is now hitting the city, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg has ordered an across-the-board freeze on hiring and the awarding of city contracts.

“I’ve instructed the city’s budget director to immediately freeze all hiring while the gridlock in the state Senate imperils the city’s budget,” Bloomberg said in a statement Monday.

It was to be a joyous week in the police department, with 250 recruits due to be sworn in on Wednesday. Now, their jobs are on hold, and there is no way to know when – or if – the city will have the money to hire them.

Mayor Bloomberg ordered the freeze Monday afternoon, saying the Albany circus has prevented the state senate from approving an increase of 0.5 percent in the city sales tax – money the city needs to balance the budget.

The state must approve new tax measures that were included in the city’s budget for fiscal year 2010, which began July 1.

Without them, the mayor says the city is losing $60 million a month and could be $900 million in the red if no agreement can be met by the end of the year.

In addition to the cops whose jobs are in limbo, the city will no longer be able to make the following hires:

150 firefighters
151 traffic agents
34 emergency 9-1-1 operators
175 school safety agents
90 emergency medical technicians
20 3-1-1 operators.

The mayor has also ordered a review of all city contracts to make sure that non-essential obligations are put on hold. On the chopping block, the mayor said, are the “entire universe” of contracts with independent agencies.

Even if Senate Democrats and Republicans were starting to warm up to each other, that says nothing about their willingness or ability to settle the ongoing leadership dispute.

Until that happens, the Senate remains locked in a 31-31 deadlock.

(Source: WCBSTV)

4 Responses

  1. Given that every other jurisdiction in the country is seeing a rapid decline in revenue due to falling income and sales tax receipts, he should be putting all non-essential obligations on hold, and not even dreaming of new hiring. The issue is the economy, not the legislature.

  2. Just note that “non-essential” doesn’t mean “not needed.” Repairs, maintenance, staff development, equipment upgrades are things that can be considered non-essential for a while but have long-term consequences if neglected for too long.
    Similarly, it’s very easy to say to “not even (dream)of new hiring” but that also is not realistic. Sure, the examples the Mayor gave are somewhat high profile but do highlight the problem: if you don’t hire firefighters, there will be a staffing problem for FDNY. Eventually, you are faced with the choice of paying overtime to cover vacant shifts or of closing firehouses. Neither is acceptable.

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