At a press conference this afternoon, Mayor Annise Parker announced plans for voluntary furloughs for the city’s workforce, a move that City Controller Ronald Green projected could save the city as much as $1 million a month.
The announcement comes days after Council Member Al Hoang submitted a proposal urging the administration to consider voluntary furloughs as a way to ease the city’s $70 million budget shortfall.
“The goal is to implement the program in time for the holidays,” said Hoang. “That way it’ll be even more enticing to employees who have either used all of their sick leave or vacation time.”
Like a mandatory furlough, a voluntary furlough would be a scheduled period of time away from work or duty whereby eligible employees have volunteered to be placed in an authorized leave of absence without compensation for that day.
In a statement, the mayor said she “hoped that through sufficient participation in this program we can limit the need for an involuntary furlough program for municipal employees during the second half of the 2011 fiscal year, January 1, 2011 to June 30, 2011.”
Hoang thanked the mayor and HOPE, the city’s labor union, for agreeing to act on the proposal, “they have been working diligently on our budget challenges and I commend them for taking this action now.”
Hoang also noted that he and his staff planned to take a furlough day, “we join with the rest of the employees at this important time. We will schedule our days off throughout the month so that our office continues to run smoothly.”