Mayor: City hiring freeze part of new budget

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He’ll unveil a new city budget later this month.. And for the first time, Mayor Emanuel’s discussing some of what’ll be in it.

It starts with a city hiring freeze, for one. The mayor dropped that on reporters during  Q&A at a news conference today. He says it’ll affect non-critical personnel—which means it won’t impact public safety workers like police and fire. Cuts in other areas are not off the table.

He didn’t offer a lot of details, but the mayor did confirm the freeze- to help close a huge city budget gap.. And a pension problem that actually gets worse –after- 2014.

“I’m going be putting in place a hiring freeze and the further elimination of non-essential employees,” he said. “In the first two years that added up to about 1500 employees or positions and we’re going to continue to do that to bring reforms. “

The freeze on hiring new city workers is expected to save over a million dollars.

That doesn’t do much to close an estimated $300 million dollar shortfall in next year’s budget so tax and fees hikes, maybe some layoffs, appear unavoidable. The mayor did not go down that road today and chose to instead to tout the reforms of his last two budgets.

“I’m going to  continue to bring a toughness to get our fiscal house in order and invest in the three areas that I think are essential to the city’s strength—first and foremost- our children. I did it last year with the 30%  increase in after-school programs and adding 5000 children to pre-K, “ Emanuel said.

Emanuel continued to say he’d focus small businesses and neighborhood services.

He mayor did not mention the billion dollar pension gap the city faces beginning next year. That’s the bigger issue. And city hall is already looking to Springfield for help with that.

The rest of the details will be outlined in the mayor’s city hall budget address October 23rd.

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