Schenectady County

Schenectady mayor to trim city staff

Mayor Gary McCarthy said he is cutting seven jobs from the city payroll, even though the City Counci

Mayor Gary McCarthy said he is cutting seven jobs from the city payroll, even though the City Council voted Sept. 10 to stop those layoffs.

At least four of the seven workers will be able to “bump down” to vacant positions at lesser pay. Others also have bumping rights but might push another employee out of the workforce. McCarthy said he believes bumping could be done in such a way as to keep every current employee in a job because there are a number of vacant positions at the bottom of the ladder.

Among the jobs being eliminated is Michael Burke’s position as parks director. Others are in the Bureau of Service, where McCarthy said he has four supervisors overseeing 12 to 16 workers.

He doesn’t need that many supervisors, he said.

“It’s an ongoing review of city operations: what’s necessary, what isn’t necessary,” he said. “Some of these [positions] are less critical than others.”

The positions will be cut on Monday, he said.

The cuts also will be included in the proposed 2013 budget, which McCarthy will unveil in a pubic presentation Sunday at 4 p.m. at City Hall.

In the past the budget has been presented to the council at a Monday meeting. But this time, McCarthy said, he wants to give a full presentation to the public.

The city’s fiscal state has been of increasing concern, leading to criticism from the public and fear among city workers who worry about massive layoffs.

McCarthy said he will give a full “narrative” of the budget during the Sunday presentation. He will also present the budget to the council at 5:30 p.m. Monday, during the council’s regular committee meeting.

As for the layoffs, the mayor said he can take action without the council’s permission.

He said he only asked for a council vote because he was hoping to show Moody’s that he had the support of the council to cut costs.

“And I thought I had it,” McCarthy said.

But the council voted down the layoffs with a tie vote of 3-3.

On Thursday, Moody’s downgraded the city’s credit rating, which will increase the city’s interest rate for new loans. That’s a problem because within a year the city must get a bond for the $20 million Bureau of Service complex. Before the downgrade, city officials estimated the city would pay $800,000 a year in interest on that loan.

McCarthy said he has the power to cut the positions without the council’s approval.

“Broad prerogative in this office,” he said. “If I don’t need people — you know, these are difficult decisions. It creates a lot of hardship for some people, but I’ve got to look at the overall finances of the city.”

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