Layoffs, furloughs likely in Annapolis

February 06, 2010|By Nicole Fuller | nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen told city employees Thursday that furloughs and layoffs are likely during the next few months in order to close a projected $9 million budget gap.

Despite a number of cost-cutting measures that his administration has taken since he took office in December, the job cuts are necessary because of the city's "unprecedented budget crisis," said Cohen, a Democrat.

The city faces a projected $2.6 million deficit for the fiscal year ending in June, and a $6.4 million deficit for fiscal year 2011. Cohen said the city is negotiating with the four unions that represent most of its 700 employees, asking for "unprecedented concessions" in wage, health and retirement benefits.

The union contracts end in June, and even with deep concessions, job cuts are likely, the mayor said.

Cohen must submit his budget to the City Council by March 8.

"I was hoping we could get through this without having to do layoffs," Cohen said. "Unfortunately, two months into my administration ... it has become clear, even with reducing expenses ... it is likely that layoffs will be necessary before the end of the fiscal year."

Since becoming mayor, Cohen has suspended Annapolis' Sister Cities program, redirecting $27,500 in funds, and has also stopped publishing a city magazine. He has also sought to rein in employee overtime.

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