3-day layoff may help balance Toledo budget

Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner says the temporary layoffs are needed to help balance this year's operating budget.
Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner says the temporary layoffs are needed to help balance this year's operating budget.
"We've had problems with layoffs before, and now they're just totally ignoring the whole process," Alan Cox tells us.
"We've had problems with layoffs before, and now they're just totally ignoring the whole process," Alan Cox tells us.
Report by Rob Wiercinski - email | bio
Posted by LS

TOLEDO (WTOL) - It's shaping up to be a legal fight over furloughs.

Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner says the temporary layoffs are needed to help balance this year's operating budget. The mayor's office is not only dealing with a big budget hole this year, but next year as well.

Part of the mayor's plan to address an $8-10 million budget deficit for this year involves giving all city employees, except for those providing essential services, three days off unpaid to save an estimated $1 million. This union leader says the mayor's office is violating their contract.

"We laid all of that out. We've had problems with layoffs before, and now they're just totally ignoring the whole process," Alan Cox with Local 2058 tells us.

While Local 2058 and other city unions are planning to soon take their complaint to court, Cox wants to meet with administrators to discuss money-saving ideas. "A lot of members are coming up with ideas. I'm getting feedback constantly, and we have some good ideas out there for helping the budget. We aren't getting any communication with the 22nd floor," says Cox.

Since the spring, Councilman Mike Collins has been urging the mayor to address this year's budget mess. "The key to it is if you would spread things out over the last seven or eight months, you would have the opportunity to see what the unintended outcomes would be when you all of a sudden jump right into a process and do it," he says.

With the mayor getting ready to unveil his 2009 budget proposal, layoffs are likely. Cox says, "We know some of the departments that get hit at times like this, and we are hearing that this is probably as bad as maybe back in 1979 and '80 when we had huge layoffs."

Councilman Collins believes the mayor's mode of operation will hinder productive budget talks. Instead of ready, aim, fire, Collins says, "You deal with an administration that operates off the principle: 'Fire, then you might aim. Then perhaps you're even ready."

City unions objecting to the temporary layoffs will likely file their legal complaint next week. Meanwhile the mayor must submit his 2009 budget plan to council by Saturday.