April 15, 2017
BY THOMAS GRILLO
LYNN — With less than two months to go before the city budget is set, Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy said layoffs are not a sure thing.
“The budgets we’ve seen so far from department heads have not called for any city employee to lose their job,” she said.
Last month, the mayor instructed managers to level fund the 2018 budget which begins on July 1. In addition, she asked senior managers to absorb a 5 percent retroactive raise to city employees and another 2 percent increase set to take effect this summer to fill an $8 million budget gap.
The mayor’s remarks come on the heels of a financial report from a team of consultants who said the city should not issue raises after union contracts expire, freeze hiring, contract EMS services to a private company, and eliminate 35 city jobs.
While Kennedy said her administration is already undertaking cost saving measures recommended by Philadelphia-based PFM Group in its 18-page review of the city’s finances, other suggestions won’t fly.
“Over the years, I have asked unions to take a zero increase, but it’s awfully difficult to do because they can appeal the Joint Labor-Management Committee for relief and they can impose whatever salary increases they think is fair,” she said. “The thought of people not getting a raise for five years doesn’t seem to be realistic.”
Thomas Grillo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.