More Furlough Days Down the Road For City Workers

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City Hall
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PATERSON, NJ - In the ongoing fallout from the city's fiscal crisis, municipal workers may have to take another 10 unpaid furlough days in the second half of this year, according to city budget director Russell Forenza.
Forenza said the state is pushing hard for Paterson to impose a second set of 10 furlough days on municipal employees between July 1 and December 31. That would be in addition to the 10 furloughs days city workers are being forced to take between January 1 and June 30.
 
"You're talking about a month's salary being cut for the year,'' Forenza said.
 

So far, the furlough days do not affect Paterson's police and fire departments, but administration officials have attempted to get the public safety department unions to accept the furloughs as way to avoid layoffs.
 
As part of an agreement in which the state is giving Paterson $22.3 million in transitional aid, Trenton has taken partial control over city finances. The state must approve certain new expenditures, like hirings and consultant contracts, and is requiring Paterson to provide extensive ongoing information about its finances. 
 
One of the requirements was that the city had to submit a layoff plan to the state by January 13. State and local officials have not yet made that document public. New Jersey Department of Community Affairs spokeswoman said the layoff plan must first be approved by the Civil Service Board before it can be released.
 
The first wave of furloughs is projected to save the city about $900,000 for the fiscal 2011 budget. But that still leaves a $40 million gap that currently would be covered by a tax increase that would cost the owner of a $350,000 and extra $1,400 per year.
 
Mayor Jeffrey Jones has said he is working on ways to reduce the potential tax hike. But he is running out of time. The state is mandating that Paterson adopt its budget by the end of Fedruary.
 
Any furloughs after July 1 would produce savings for the 2012 fiscal year.
 

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