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Tampa plans to slash payroll
The mayor says the cuts will be significant, but the numbers are uncertain.
By JANET ZINK
Published June 26, 2007
TAMPA - Mayor Pam Iorio this week will announce layoffs of city employees in response to the drop in revenue caused by state property tax reform.
The exact number of employees to be let go wasn't available Monday, but some employees worry that it could be as high as 100, according to Martha Stevens, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1464, which represents the city's general employees.
"There's stress, " Stevens said. "There's so many rumors out there, and people don't know what the numbers are."
Those targeted for layoffs will be notified this week, giving them 90 days before being let go. The union contract calls for 21 days' notice.
"They are going above and beyond the contract, " Stevens said. "It's more than fair."
Iorio will meet Wednesday with City Council members to review the city's financial picture. In a memo sent Friday to the council, Iorio said the city needs to trim $20-million from next year's budget. Before those cuts, the expected budget was $180-million, which is $16-million more than this year's budget. Because about 80 percent of the city's general revenue fund expenses are personnel, Iorio said job cuts would be "significant" and were unavoidable.
"While I wish that all personnel cuts could only be in vacant positions or by attrition over time, this will not be possible, " Iorio wrote. "My staff has been identifying personnel cutbacks within their departments, and the work is still ongoing." Iorio instituted a hiring freeze in April.
Although the Police and Fire departments originally had been slated for a combined budget reduction of $9.7-million, Iorio has said that figure will be reduced and "very few" cuts will be made in those departments.
Last week, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker announced plans to lay off 50 workers and eliminate 20 unfilled jobs from the city's 3, 000-person work force.
Tampa has a little more than 5, 000 employees; 175 new positions have been created in the past three years.