Detroit Plans Job Cuts to Curb Budget Crisis

Despite Mayor Dave Bing’s plan to slash 1,000 jobs, some city leaders fear the measures do not go far enough.

Posted: 11/18/2011 05:50 PM EST
Dave Bing

Amid a $45 million budget deficit and the possibility of a state-appointed emergency financial manager taking control, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announced Friday that the city will cut 1,000 jobs by next year.  

“Solving our cash crisis requires a combination of concessions and tough cuts," Bing said. "Layoffs will be strategic. We will limit the impact on residents, protecting core services like police and fire protection as much as we can.”

The move is an attempt to preempt a $45 million cash shortfall expected at the end of the fiscal year in June. Bing projects that the cuts will save the city nearly $12 million and will reduce the city’s workforce by 9 percent. City workers will begin receiving layoff notices as early as Dec. 5.

Although the cuts will not be welcome news to many of the city’s 11,000 workers, some Detroit city council members say that the cuts won’t be enough to keep the city afloat and to stave off the introduction of an emergency financial manager.

"We feel that we get one shot at this. One shot left before an emergency manager is at our door, and we've got to get it right," city council president Gary Brown told WJBK Fox Detroit. "The mayor should've been ready yesterday to announce 2,300 layoffs.”

Some council members say they may petition the state’s governor for help.

"The governor says that this was a crappy plan and that he's expecting a review of our finances. That means that the governor's office is extremely dissatisfied," said City Council President Charles Pugh.

The council committee says that they have developed a plan of their own and if passed by the full council in the form of a resolution, they plan to submit it to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, in hopes that he will pressure the mayor to adopt the suggestions.

In addition to the cuts, Bing’s plan includes an immediate hiring freeze for all civil service positions except the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. All the positions slated for layoffs will be eliminated by Feb. 25.

Overall, Detroit is suffering from a crippling unemployment rate and a staggering rate of population drain over the last ten years. Over the past decade, Detroit has lost nearly a quarter of its population, as scarce job opportunities, crime, and its struggling education system have driven many former residents from the city.

(Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)