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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) -- Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch says 31 city workers, including 10 police supervisors are being laid off because of budget problems.
The employees also include 20 workers at City Hall and an employee of the city's Health Department.
Finch said Monday that the layoffs will begin within 30 days and will save the city about $1.9 million.
Bridgeport employs about 4,700 people.
The most recent financial report for the City Council indicates the city had a $1 million deficit in July, the first month of the 2008-09 fiscal year. City officials say that could rise to about $6 million.
The mayor has also asked city employees to work one week without pay. Unionized city workers have so far refused to participate in that furlough.

· Subscribing Member
7,248 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The mayor of Bridgeport is quickly finding out that it is easier to call for layoffs than it is to actually carryout the action. He now comes up looking silly and uninformed as he tries to handle finances in the cash-struck Connecticut city.
Andrew Abate, the city's long-time director of the Water Pollution Control Authority, is still in his office. So are the 10 police officers Mayor Finch planned to lay off because some -- particularly those in the department's top ranks -- were racking up too much overtime.
In fact, it's hard to find any workers who have actually been laid off because of Finch's recent order that 31 employees be axed from the city's payroll. The list was to include 10 high-ranking police officers, five park police officers, Abate and 15 other City Hall workers.
The layoffs were announced at the end of September, and were scheduled to take effect last Friday. But the only people laid off as of Monday were five members of the city's parks police force. And under union rules, the senior park police officer "bumped" a school police cop and took his job.
The reason for the hold on layoffs appears primarily attributable to union and civil service rules, and the mayor's apparent lack of knowledge about both.
Elaine Ficarra, Finch's spokeswoman, confirmed Monday the 10 police officers targeted for layoff -- the deputy chiefs, sergeants and lieutenants -- still have their jobs.
The administration is now negotiating with the police union, and if sufficient savings are found, the positions may be spared. Officially, the layoffs are "on hold," Ficarra said.
Abate, who also was issued a layoff notice, remains on the job as well. The WPCA

is reviewing its operations to see if other savings can be found to allow him to keep his job, Ficarra said. The administration is also negotiating with all of the city's other unions over the fate of City Hall workers targeted for layoff. If departments can find sufficient savings to offset a layoff, that job may be saved, she said.
"Everyone is in negotiation and a deal is on the table. We are hopeful a resolution will soon be reached," she said.
The 31 layoffs Finch announced in September were intended to save $1.9 million, although that figure was later reduced to $1.3 million when the savings were calculated on a fiscal year basis.
The actual number of layoffs dropped to 28 after it was discovered that two part-time election machine mechanics were included, along with one Civil Service Department employee. The Civil Service Commission ruled that its employee, Donna Reisinger, cannot be laid off because the department is exempt from mayoral control.
The commission also ruled the 10 police officers, despite the fact that police has no union bumping rights in its contract, fall under civil service Rule 13 and police union members have bumping rights after all.
Ralph Jacobs, the city's personnel director, said the Civil Service Commission ruling means each targeted officer can "bump" a less senior officer, in some cases all the way down to a patrol officers working the streets.
"People would still be laid off, but not in the manner that some people originally thought," Jacobs said.
When Finch announced his layoffs, the mayor said police did not have bumping rights and stressed that no patrol officers would be laid off.
Ficarra could not say if Finch now favors laying off patrol officers.
The layoffs were designed to help reduce a looming deficit in the city's $492 million budget for 2008-09, which now hovers around $6 million.
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