State Senate Inaction Causes Mayor To Freeze Hiring Of Cops, Firefighters
Faced with the loss of many millions of dollars in the 2010 budget because the state senate did not vote to approve the funds, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced an immediate freeze in hiring new cops, firefighters and emergency service personnel.
In addition, the mayor said, he has ordered a review of all city contracts so the city does not enter into non-essential contracts. He explained, "We have a legal mandate to produce a balanced budget—something we've done for seven consecutive years—so we have to act responsibly."
The mayor also stated he had instructed the city budget director to immediately freeze all hiring "while the gridlock in the state senate imperils the city's budget".
Included in the freeze, he said, is a class of 250 police recruits who were set to enter the Police Academy this week, as are firefighters, school safety agents, 911 and 311 call takers and EMTs.
The hiring freeze will take effect immediately, the mayor said, although certain hires will be permitted for extraordinary needs that may arise.
Plans to hire other important city workers including 150 firefighters, 151 traffic agents, 34 emergency 911 operators, 175 school safety agents, 150 school crossing guards, 90 emergency medical technicians, and 20 311 operators have also been put on hold.
Bloomberg added: "I urge senators in both parties to put aside their political differences and approve the city's revenue plan so we can move forward with providing the core services that New Yorkers rely on."
The lack of state senate action on the new revenue package has cost the city $60 million in July and will mean a $60 million loss of new funds for each month in which no senate action is taken. If the senate is unable to act on the revenue package this year, the mayor concluded, the city stands to lose nearly $900 million.
Reacting to the freeze announcement, City Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. (D- Astoria), chair of the Public Safety Committee, stated: "Our first responders should never be first on the chopping block. Police recruits, preparing to enter the Academy this week, are now being held hostage by the pathetic ineptitude in Albany. The state senate's inability to function may literally result in blood on the streets."
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn also called on the state senate "to put aside their power struggle and allow our revenue package to move forward so we can avoid drastic cuts to the core services we fought so hard to protect."
Quinn said the new revenue package agreement was designed to save 16 firehouses from being closed, maintain citywide six-day library services, and keep ACS child welfare workers on the front lines protecting our most vulnerable children.