Speaker Adams says city can’t afford headcount cuts called for in Mayor’s latest fiscal belt-tightening move

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams on Tuesday pushed again on Mayor Eric Adams’ latest proposed price range cuts, which included a directive for city businesses to remove half of their vacant positions, saying the “city can’t afford to lose staff” amid its present municipal employee scarcity.

Agency heads have been first notified concerning the new spending discount plan in a Monday letter from Mayor Adams’ Budget Director Jacques Jiha – who heads the city Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In the letter, Jiha mentioned that in the face of a $2.9 billion price range hole for the subsequent fiscal year that would develop as massive as $6 billion by 2026, all businesses should shed half of their positions that stood vacant as of Oct. 31 and that the mayor’s office gained’t be allocating funding for new company applications. Agencies must discover the funding for new initiatives in their budgets.

Jiha did lay out sure exemptions to the staffing discount, together with uniformed businesses just like the NYPD, FDNY and Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and “pedagogical” positions, resembling lecturers.

At an unrelated press convention Tuesday afternoon, Speaker Adams mentioned she didn’t perceive why the mayor would announce the brand new price saving measures only a week after releasing his November Financial Plan, which included roughly 3% price range cuts for all city businesses – except for three that didn’t meet their targets – for the present fiscal year.

The plan additionally included cuts of 4.75% to most company budgets for the subsequent three fiscal years, spending reductions OMB says will save the city $250 million over Fiscal Year’s 2023 and 2024.

Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (proper) and Mayor Eric Adams (left) at invoice signing for laws to strengthen providers for home violence victims. Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022.Photo courtesy of Gerardo Romo/NYC Council Media Unit

“It’s really perplexing why a vacancy reduction would be announced just a week after the November Financial Plan was released,” the speaker mentioned in response to a question from amNewYork Metro.

“We’re scrutinizing it right now, but the city can’t afford to lose staff in those agencies that really are relied upon to address the multiple crises we’re facing,” she continued. “We just can’t. So, whether it’s developing housing, addressing mental health or any of the challenges we need to confront, we can’t afford this.”

The city is down about 19,000 full-time employees since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic over two years in the past, a decline not seen because the Great Recession in 2008, in keeping with a report from state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli launched final week. The city at present has over 21,000 vacant positions, with staffing declines over the previous couple of years being attributed to lowered hiring in Fiscal Year 2021 and city workers leaving their jobs in droves.

“We are obviously significantly low, when it comes to the jobs right now, with folks that haven’t come back from the pandemic,” the speaker mentioned.

In response to Jiha saying the administration is trying into new staffing retention and recruitment methods, Speaker Adams mentioned the city has to do a greater job of promoting itself to these trying for work.

“As a city overall, we don’t do our best when it comes to tooting our own horn about the work,” Speaker Adams mentioned. “The work that’s available. The work that can be produced. The different agencies and the work that the agencies do. And the big picture of the agencies and the tremendous help that these agencies provide to our everyday citizens. So we have to get better at being our own best cheerleaders.”

Mayor Eric Adams
Mayor Eric Adams.Photo by Dean Moses

The mayor, nonetheless, defended his new financial savings plan in a separate press convention earlier Tuesday morning, saying the price reducing is essential contemplating the potential fiscal disaster the city is at present staring down. The city’s response can even depend upon tax receipts that’ll come in someday throughout December, the mayor mentioned.

“I believe that inside our agencies, we have to find efficiencies,” the mayor mentioned. “We have to do everything we can to find those efficiencies to find the best cost savings as possible. And then we’re going to move to plan B and plan C to deal with this budget gap.”

“These are real difficult days,” he added. “And I don’t know if people really realize that. We are in financial trouble and the country is in financial trouble. And I have to be financially prudent to make these smart decisions.”

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