As people are currently lined up tonight at park board and library board meetings, desperately trying to save parts of the system on the chopping block, I also got a note from the wife of a city hall employee about the sense of anxiety prevailing there. Please see it pasted below.
All of which makes we wonder — why is Vancouver in such a desperate situation? Yes, the economy is bad and cities aren’t rolling in development fees any more, but I am just not hearing about this kind of severe budget-cutting and subsequent gnashing of teeth/rending of garments in other municipalities. Am I missing something? Let me know. (And please let us all know about the highlights or lowlights of tonight’s park and library meetings.)
Anyway, here’s a note from “Jennifer”
I am completely surprised you did not even discuss this issue in your blog. City Manager announced that there will be 158 layoffs in City of Vancouver to save money and not to increase taxes. My husband works for the City, he got the PowerPoint presentation from his manger yesterday and he is not able to sleep since .
I used to work but stopped working after the birth of my second child . We bought an apartment few years ago. Until yesterday we were thinking that we are a happy family , very fortune that my husband has a stable job , I can give my full attention to my little children and we are proud owners of a little apartment .
We never thought that could happen to us.
Before making this decision did you realize how many families would be destroyed?
· How we, and a lot of other families like us, would be able to pay huge mortgages?
· How we would feed and take care of our children?
· Who would give my husband or any person who get fired a job in this terrible economy?
· Who would be responsible for the destruction of my family and other families like us?
My husband went to our family doctor and he has already started taking anti-anxiety pills.
I am wondering, why you cannot propose any of the following options:
· Do not increase salaries of union and exempt staff, discuss with them the consequences of firing people versus implications of loss of 4% pay increase.
· City does not have a contract with exempt employees for wage increase , do not increase their ways by 4% , may be ask for rollback of previous increase. If they don’t like it they can leave and find another job .Only those who can really find other jobs would leave . At least that would not damage any family.
· Lots of employees can retire with full benefits but they have chosen not to retire so that they don’t get bored at home, propose a by-law for forced retirements for these employees. Most people over 55 can retire and should retire.
· Make four day work week, which would be 20% salary decrease across the board
· Please put a real hiring freeze, why there are still jobs posted on City web site .Hiring freeze should be a REAL freeze. Stop hiring people from outside like the new City Manager and new CFO.