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 assist lighten the load, but numerous nearby civic panels have resisted City Hall’s calls to sacrifice their workforce.

The head of 1 southern Brooklyn board mentioned the cuts would make it tougher for the boards to advocate for daily constituent challenges like garbage pickup or tree pruning.

“Absolutely not, we have a quite modest employees to start with [and] for us to voluntarily get rid of one more employees member is out of the query,” mentioned Theresa Scavo, chairperson of Neighborhood Board 15 in Sheepshead Bay. “You have to have a person who is going to consistently get in touch with back these persons [at city agencies] and inform them [about local concerns].”

Scavo and numerous other Brooklyn boards have rejected the demand by the Mayor’s Workplace of Management and Price range, which asked civic gurus in a teleconference on August 19 to take into consideration cutting back their paid employees, which is typically about 3 persons 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 right after union leaders urged him to take time to discover other signifies of saving cash, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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

“On the new date, the mayor spoke to this these days. It is a day by day factor,” mentioned Laura Feyer in an e mail.

Feyer refused to say irrespective of whether 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 very best way to prevent that was for the state to permit 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, which includes neighborhood boards and offices of elected officials, have been asked to participate in labor savings,” Feyer mentioned. “Long term borrowing authority from Albany is the very best remedy to prevent layoffs.”

The city’s 59 neighborhood boards consist nearly completely 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 challenges 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 mentioned that 1 of their hires, who began function just just before the pandemic broke out, applied her background in a digital function atmosphere to assist CB2 extra conveniently transition to virtual meetings.

“One of my new hires comes out of the digital globe and functioning remotely — she has often worked remotely in current jobs — and she has just stepped in and stepped up,” mentioned 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 1 component-timer.

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

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

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

“Community boards are so underfunded to start with, that it is a disgrace to ask us who represent the neighborhood — about the only location exactly where the neighborhood has any sort of say — it is disgraceful to ask us to reduce,” mentioned 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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