Iorio says race not a factor in layoffs

By JANET ZINK, Times Staff Writer
Published December 19, 2007

TAMPA - The majority of those targeted by Mayor Pam Iorio in a recently announced round of layoffs are black and Hispanic, according to an analysis completed by City Council member John Dingfelder.

Local workers say they plan to protest the layoffs at Thursday's City Council meeting, when the board is scheduled for a briefing on Iorio's proposal.

In November the mayor announced plans to trim $3.4-million a year from the city's budget in part by privatizing some janitorial and security services and cutting 88 of those jobs from the payroll next year.

Dingfelder said 92 of the 124 employees who provide those services are minorities.

Although a month ago city managers told employees in the affected areas they had six months to find other work, on Tuesday Iorio said the city has not determined which 88 employees will lose their jobs.

She said she based the decision to eliminate 100 jobs citywide on positions, not people.

"My administration has never and will never make a layoff decision based on race, gender, ethnicity or any other personal information," Iorio said.

She resisted providing a demographic breakdown to the City Council after City Attorney David Smith said even compiling the information could lead to lawsuits by implying race was a factor in the decision.