Mayor Calls for Staffing Cuts, Some Brooklyn Neighborhood Boards Say No

Mayor Calls for Staffing Cuts, Some Brooklyn Community Boards Say No

Amid this year’s enormous price range shortfalls, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s workplace is asking the city’s neighborhood boards to voluntarily lay off some of their paid employees to assistance lighten the load, but various neighborhood civic panels have resisted City Hall’s calls to sacrifice their workforce.

The head of one particular southern Brooklyn board stated the cuts would make it tougher for the boards to advocate for each day constituent problems like garbage pickup or tree pruning.

“Absolutely not, we have a extremely little employees to commence with [and] for us to voluntarily get rid of a further employees member is out of the query,” stated Theresa Scavo, chairperson of Neighborhood Board 15 in Sheepshead Bay. “You need to have somebody who is going to regularly get in touch with back these people today [at city agencies] and inform them [about local concerns].”

Scavo and various other Brooklyn boards have rejected the demand by the Mayor’s Workplace of Management and Spending budget, which asked civic gurus in a teleconference on August 19 to think about cutting back their paid employees, which is normally about 3 people today per board.

Hizzoner has threatened laying off 22,000 municipal staff across all city agencies by Oct. 1 to balance a $9 billion city price range deficit triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Departments anticipated some of their staff to get their 30-day notices Monday, but de Blasio delayed handing out pink slips following union leaders urged him to take time to discover other implies of saving cash, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A spokeswoman for the mayor declined to give a particular date for the layoffs, saying it was a “day by day” timeline.

“On the new date, the mayor spoke to this now. It is a day by day point,” stated Laura Feyer in an e mail.

Feyer refused to say no matter if any of the boards have currently volunteered redundancies, but noted that all agencies from the mayor’s workplace on down have been asked to reduce their workforce and that the finest way to keep away from that was for the state to enable the city to borrow cash.

“The City has lost billions in income due to the effect of COVID-19. All agencies and organizations that have paid employees, like neighborhood boards and offices of elected officials, have been asked to participate in labor savings,” Feyer stated. “Long term borrowing authority from Albany is the finest resolution to keep away from layoffs.”

The city’s 59 neighborhood boards consist nearly totally of 50 unpaid members every single, but they also have a handful of salaried city staff, such as a district manager and a couple of supporting employees.

These workers run the board district offices, field complaints from residents, and organize month-to-month meetings for board members and the public to give input about neighborhood problems ranging from state liquor licenses to proposed mega-developments.

In the coronavirus era, the boards have met on the web through video conferencing platform Cisco WebEx, and the head of Downtown Brooklyn’s Neighborhood Board two stated that one particular of their hires, who began operate just just before the pandemic broke out, made use of her background in a digital operate atmosphere to assistance CB2 a lot more effortlessly transition to virtual meetings.

“One of my new hires comes out of the digital planet and operating remotely — she has normally worked remotely in current jobs — and she has just stepped in and stepped up,” stated Rob Perris.

Neighborhood Board two voted unanimously at a current executive committee meeting to not lay off any of its paid employees, which consists of 3 complete-time staff and one particular component-timer.

Perris echoed Scavo’s issues that a decreased employees would make it tougher to hold bureaucrats’s feet to the fire to resolve problems in the districts.

“You need to have to go back and back and back to a mayoral agency in order to get a resolution,” Perris stated. “[With less staff] we’d a lot more readily accept defeat.”

1 Downtown Brooklyn board member at the August 24 meeting slammed de Blasio, saying the panels had been one particular of the couple of formal neighborhood forums offered and that they are currently starved of funds.

“Community boards are so underfunded to commence with, that it is a disgrace to ask us who represent the neighborhood — about the only spot exactly where the neighborhood has any sort of say — it is disgraceful to ask us to reduce,” stated Irene Janner.

Editor’s note: A version of this story initially ran in Brooklyn Paper. Click right here to see the original story.

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