City Will Attempt To Close Budget Gap with Hiring Freeze

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Monday that the city is planning to implement a city-wide hiring freeze in an effort to close a more than $3 billion budget deficit for the coming fiscal year 2012, which begins July 1, 2011.

The mayor says the hiring freeze will last indefinitely, or until the Office of Management and Budget approves each agencies' savings program. City agencies will be required to submit a proposal for cutting expenses.

"The job for every one of our commissioners is to find ways to do more with less. Anybody can run an agency if your have unlimited funds. That's not the real world. The trick is, and the job is, and the responsibility is -- and I think we can do this -- to run these agencies with less money," Bloomberg says.

The mayor says there will be exceptions to the freeze, which could include positions immediately affecting public health and safety and positions that generate revenue.

The Police, Fire and the Department of Education have until October 8 to cut 2.7 percent of their current budgets and 5.4 percent for the following year and the Parks Department and the Administration for Children's Services need to identify 4 percent this year and 8 the next if they hope to avoid layoffs.

Agencies like the Department of Sanitation hire seasonally and say a freeze could impact services like winter snow removal.

The hiring freeze comes after the City Council and Mayor Bloomberg had already approved 1,100 layoffs and the loss of 4,200 more jobs in June.

The city currently employs about 300,000 workers.

This will be the ninth attempt to eliminate budget gaps in three years.