Tulsa city employees will be taking mandatory furlough days

Thursday, June 27th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa's Mayor Thursday confirms a story first reported on the News on Six last week, that furloughs of city employees will be mandatory. And there's a salary cut coming as well.

News on Six reporter Emory Bryan says city employees will get the word Friday that the voluntary furlough failed to meet the financial goals set by the mayor - therefore, everyone gets a salary cut - and at least a day and a half off without pay.

City employees had warning it was coming - the mayor told them June 6th that if not enough people volunteered - mandatory cuts would come. After two weeks of waiting, the mayor said out of 2,400 city employees, only 888 had volunteered, with an average of 5 days requested. That would save less than $700 thousand - less than half than what the mayor had hoped. He's decided to make the furlough mandatory. “It’s going to be a mandatory rollback, to put it in the simplest terms, there will be a 2.7% rollback in wages for non police and fire employees, there will be July 5th and Columbus Day as City Hall shutdowns and then they will be able to choose another day and a half of furlough, we're going to take that just through this calendar year, then evaluate where we're at the beginning of December.”

The mayor wanted everyone to take seven days without pay - but employees worried about the impact of whole days off. The mayor says that concern made a salary cut more appealing. "I think with all the layoffs and everything happening in our economy, we've done very well with the budget to avoid any real layoffs to avoid any permanent salary cuts and to keep our police and fire strong."

Firefighters and police officers - as sworn employees under a union contract - won't be subject to the cuts or the furlough. For nearly everyone else - the first day off will be July 5th. "You'll see City Hall and the courts not open on July 5th and Columbus Day, in October I believe and then they will take a day and a half between now and December of their choosing to take leave without pay."

Some departments won't close on furlough days – Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa International Airport and the Tulsa Zoo will stay open. But for everyone else, a couple of definite days off, another day and half of their choosing, and a salary cut from July to December.