Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Nashville looks to freeze employee pay plan, eliminate cost-of-living adjustment — again

by Yihyun Jeong, The Tennessean, April 14, 2020 - Economic boom or economic downturn, Nashville city employees have heard the same tune: They will take the brunt of a tighter budget.

Metro Human Resources presented a proposal Tuesday to the Metro Civil Services Commission to freeze all compensation, including step increases and cost-of-living adjustments for employees in a nearly $26 million "cost avoidance" measure as the city faces a steep revenue shortfall from COVID-19. The savings accounts for just more than 1% of the more than $2 billion city budget.

…..As the coronavirus has forced non-essential businesses to close, city officials are forecasting a $200 million to $300 million shortfall in expected taxes and other revenue for the current fiscal year. (link)

Rod's Comment: The employee's unions are moaning about the lack of a pay increase and this Tennessean article is sympathetic to the plight of Metro employees.  Certainty, I also regret that employees will not get an anticipated raise and sypathize with them. However, they ought to be happy that they are immune from lay off and that they still have a job.  Many in the private sector are laid off and will not have a job to go back to.  The longer this lockdown continues, the more likely that private sector employee will not have a job to return to.

My greater concern about how this budget crunch will affect Metro employees is that we will not be hiring adequate people to meet public safety needs.  The police department is short 130 officers and the fire department is short 153 positions and there is a shortage of 911 personnel.

I am still waiting for a sign that Metro is doing all it can to manage our money well.  I am not seeing it. If Metro was really serious about addressing this crisis, we would close General Hospital and save about $50 million a year.  Metro General can not fill its beds, no one wants to go there, poor people have other options and General's only reason for still existing is to boost the collective ego of the Black community.

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