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Newark's Booker Planning Layoffs, Furlough for Non-Union Workers

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Newark Mayor Cory Booker says he wants to reduce non-union city workers to a four-day work week, starting in late September, to deal with a $150 million budget gap. He's also planning on laying off 350 firefighters and police officers.

Booker says the reduced work schedule could start September 27 and will increase the city's furlough days from 11 to 19.

"The chief executive of the city must do what's necessary to protect my residents, not only with the provision of critical services and preserving those, but also protecting the quality of life by not raising taxes," Booker says.

Booker says he's forced to make the cuts because the Newark City Council won't let him raise $70 million by turning the city's water department into a municipal utilities authority. The authority would have the power to sell bonds.

Booker doesn't need the council's approval, but he will need the state assembly to sign off on the furlough.

"The challenge, though, is it's all being imposed in the final quarter of the year, which means a svere hardship on city workers," Booker says.

The shortened work week will affect nearly 1,500 of the city's 4,000 non-uniformed employees.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker says he may have to lay off as many as 350 firefighters and police officers, and put non-unionized city employees on a four-day work week, in order to deal with a $150 million budget gap.

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