More than a few city workers received some bad news May 16, when 49 employees were notified they would no longer have a job. Council decided during earlier budget workshops that the layoffs would be inevitable in an attempt to pay off an estimated $35 million deficit for next year’s budget.

Interim Human Resources Director Jim Brown released a statement May 17 confirming the news.

In his response to the lay-offs, Brown said the action was “due to a variety of reasons including challenges with the city’s budget, which are a reflection of the nation’s continued economic issues, a decrease in city sales tax revenue and a decrease in state shared revenue. In addition, due to the current obligation to manage the city-owned arena, the city must budget accordingly.”

Brown also said two of the 49 positions will be transferred to other areas within the organization and have the option to move into positions within the organization deemed critical to city services.

A breakdown of the employees affected from certain departments is as follows:

· Community Development (Neighborhood and Human Services) = 6

· Parks, Recreation, and Library = 15

· Management and Budget = 1

· Field Operations = 20

· Police = 5

· Transportation = 1

· Human Resources = 1

Brown said the cuts represent approximately 2 percent of the entire organization.

The released employees will continue to receive payment through June 15, and their benefits will still be available to them through June. City staff also implemented a transition team (beginning May 18) that employees can use to find jobs and information about benefits and insurance.

Brown offered the following encouragement:

“This is a difficult time and we want to do everything we can do to assist those who are being affected during this transition. We have a talented employee base and know that those employees impacted by this downsizing have the necessary skills to secure new employment opportunities.”