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Saratoga Springs considers furloughing city workers

Mark Mulholland
Updated: May 07, 2020 04:31 PM
Created: May 06, 2020 05:57 PM

SARATOGA SPRINGS - Saratoga Springs Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan sounded the alarm Wednesday.

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Madigan called the city's financial picture "dire" because of the pandemic.

"We cannot completely borrow our way through this crisis," Madigan said.

She says the city will come up $14- $16 million short in 2020 and will need federal help, loans, early retirements and furloughs. 

She's calling for 90-day furloughs - not layoffs - and employees placed on temporary leave would still have their city insurance  coverage and be able to collect unemployment during their temporary leave.

Madigan says she knows it won't be easy for city workers.

"I believe they will see that a furlough is much better than a layoff. Because you are still receiving unemployment."

Madigan says furloughed employees - she didn't have rough number on Wednesday, will also get an extra $600 a week from the state through the end of July.  

The commissioner says she'd like to implement the plan as soon as possible, but it's not clear if she has enough support on the City Council.

Mayor Meg Kelly says, "Given all the information we have, I think furloughs are best for employees and the city right now."

However, Public Safety Commissioner Robin Dalton disagrees.

"I think we really need to prioritize what's most essential to this city," she said.

Dalton oversees police and firefighters which make up about two-thirds of the city's payroll. 

She says she needs more information but is opposed to the idea of furloughing essential employees.

"It's just not something we can sustain. It's not a risk we can take as a city. The only thing that matters is safety. If we don't have safety, we have nothing."

Accounts Commissioner John Franck says he opposes the furloughs. Public Works Commissioner Skip Scirocco says he needs more time to study the proposal.

The city's seven unions would also need to approve it.


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