Pink slips go out today to city workers canned under Mayor Nutter's budget cuts. But the toll will be far less than the administration first predicted.
When Nutter first announced his budget cuts on Nov. 6, he said that he expected that 220 full-time jobs would be cut - along with 600 unfilled positions and 2,000 seasonal or part-time jobs.
But only about 145 workers will be getting layoff notices today, said mayoral spokesman Doug Oliver. And about half of those employees will be offered vacant jobs in other departments.
So, at the end of the day, the damage could be well under 100 workers.
"It's good, because we are able to preserve jobs for people and still hit our financial targets," said Budget Director Steve Agostini, who stressed that the city would still achieve the same financial savings. "The number of layoffs where people are actually losing their jobs has shrunk."
Nutter also plans to close libraries and pools and delay tax cuts to eliminate a shortfall of $108 million during this budget year and $1 billion over the next five years.
Agostini said that the layoff total dropped for several reasons. A number of workers resigned or retired, some departments were able to make other cuts to preserve jobs and some workers were moved into open jobs within their departments.
Because the city has not hired in several months, there were more vacant positions available.
"When we had collectively a moment to step back, it allowed us time to find some additional options," Agostini said.
About 73 of those laid off today will be able to get jobs in other city departments, Oliver said. Many of those available jobs are in the prison system and the new 3-1-1 nonemergency-call center.
With 11 branches closing, the library system had been slated to take the biggest hit under the layoffs. But many library assistants are being offered jobs in the new 3-1-1 call center and other city departments.
Agostini said that some of the workers getting jobs in other departments will see a pay cut.
The laid-off workers who are not offered other city jobs may not ultimately end up leaving the city workforce. Under union rules, some employees will get the opportunity to replace - or "bump" - a worker with less seniority, forcing the junior worker to leave. This process could take some time to unfold.
Agostini said that the city has been working with District Council 33, the blue-collar union that represents most of the workers affected in the layoffs.
A union spokesman would not comment on the workforce-reduction process. *