About 495 City Hall employees, including Mayor Bill de Blasio himself, will be furloughed for a week in order to help the city’s budget crisis.
Staffers, the mayor and First Lady Chirlane McCray will take an unpaid furlough for five days at some point between the week of Oct. 1 and March of 2021.
“Dedicated public servants have worked tirelessly for our city and their fellow New Yorkers throughout this crisis,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday. “This is a painful step, but it shows just how committed we are to responsible budgeting and leading the City through these challenging times.
Mayor de Blasio warned in the spring and repeatedly over the summer that the city might lay off 22,000 city workers to help fill a $9 billion deficit in the city’s budget over the two years caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Those layoffs are still on the table though as municipal unions continue to pressure Albany to allow the city to borrow up to $5 billion to cover the debt if federal aid to the city fails to come through.
Layoffs were scheduled to start happening on Oct. 1, but last month de Blasio delayed that deadline and told city unions to keep searching for ways to save $1 billion without letting go of employees.
“Today’s announcement makes it clear we need Albany to step up, too,” he said. “We need our partners in the state government to give New York City long term borrowing authority.”
The mayor’s annual salary is about $254,000 and the furloughs represent a 12% cut to the Mayor’s Office fiscal year 2020-21 budget.
Comptroller and mayoral candidate Scott Stringer called de Blasio’s announcement a “meaningless gesture” given the magnitude of the fiscal crisis facing the city.
“This is no time for empty gestures. As the Mayor well knows, cutting 1/100th of a percent of the City budget is meaningless in the context of a $4.2 billion budget deficit,” said Stringer in a statement. ” Furloughing City workers with little payoff instead of scrubbing the budget for real waste and inefficiency is emblematic of the Mayor’s approach to budgeting: a lazy substitute for real work.”