Finkbeiner says city to appeal layoff decision

Reported by Rob Wiercinski email

TOLEDO (WTOL) - Mayor Carty Finkbeiner announced Tuesday, Dec. 23, that the city of Toledo is appealing an arbitrator's decision that struck down plans to have unionized city workers take three unpaid days off on Dec. 26 and 31, and Jan. 2.

The mayor says closing down non-essential city offices for the day is "a less painful way" to help erase a budget deficit, compared to permanent layoffs.

While the mayor's hoping that decision will be reversed, he also announced the city plans to shut down all city offices for the week of Feb. 16, with the exception of police, fire, refuse and those keeping the water system operating.

"As mayor, it is my responsibility to trim costs to balance the budget in uncertain economic times such as today," Finkbeiner said.

This latest plan comes a day after an arbitrator ruled temporary layoffs which were scheduled for this year violated union contracts. But the mayor believes that decision should be overturned, to give him the ability to lead the city through tough economic times.

"Our plan was presented to the city's unions, one-day sporadic layoffs to minimize inconvenience to our citizens and spread the financial impact over all employees not just a few," the mayor said.

The mayor says some city workers will still have three days off without pay over the next two weeks. Furloughs for around 80 employees who aren't covered under union contracts will happen Dec. 26 and 31, and Jan. 2.

According to the mayor, putting more people on the unemployment line should be the absolute last option for the city.

"Wisdom at this point in time says if you can save a majority of your people from being hurt financially and otherwise, you ought to do it," Finkbeiner said.