Pay cuts unfortunate, but necessary for city
Some months ago, we were critical of Grand Junction city officials for proposing cuts in projects and services that affect city residents, while working hard to protect city employees from the impacts of the recession.
We can’t say that now. The plan outlined earlier this week by City Manager Laurie Kadrich will substantially affect all city employees. Either they will receive a 3 percent cut in the paychecks they receive next year, or they will see a 1.9 percent cut, along with a mandate they take two unpaid holidays and two furlough days next year. Kadrich was to decide later this week which plan to use.
And, just so there is no doubt, Kadrich said the cuts will apply to the wages of all city employees, including her own.
The city, which depends primarily on sales taxes for the bulk of its revenue, has seen rapid drops in the money generated by the sales tax this year. To accommodate that, the city has already cut $7 million from the current-year budget. It has implemented a hiring freeze that has left 40 city jobs unfilled. There are overtime restrictions and equipment purchases have been limited. More cuts may be coming next year.
“My goal is to be down another 20 positions by the end of next year,” Kadrich told us. She hopes that can occur through attrition, and perhaps by some employees voluntarily taking unpaid sabbaticals. We share her hope that those measures will be adequate.
The city is taking the sort of action that many businesses, including this newspaper, have already implemented to deal with the recessions. Layoffs, pay freezes, delaying or cancelling capital projects and more have been required by many businesses, whose managers hope their efforts to date will be enough to weather the economic storm.
It’s unfortunate that city employees will see less money in their paychecks next year. But we applaud Kadrich and the many city employees who worked with her to develop a plan for dealing with an economic reality that hasn’t confronted the city in decades.