NEW YORK—With the state Senate paralyzed by political squabbling, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Monday announced an immediate freeze of personnel hiring to ensure the city meets its legal obligation to maintain a balanced budget.
“I’ve instructed the city’s budget director to immediately freeze all hiring while the gridlock in the state Senate imperils the city’s budget,” said Mayor Bloomberg, who is up for re-election this fall. “This includes a class of 250 police recruits, who were set to enter the academy this week, along with firefighters, school safety agents, 911 and 311 call takers, and EMTs.”
The fiscal year 2010 budget, adopted by the city council in June, included new revenues that require approval in the State Legislature. The lack of action in the state Senate on the new revenue package has cost the city to $60 million in the month of July and $60 million will continue to be lost each month without state Senate action, which would necessitate further reductions in city spending.
If the state Senate is unable to act on the revenue package this year, the city stands to lose nearly $900 million.
“I urge senators in both parties to put aside their political differences and approve the city’s revenue plan so we can move forward with providing the core services that New Yorkers rely on,” Bloomberg concluded.
Additionally, the mayor has ordered a review of all city contracts so the city does not enter into non-essential obligations.
“We will be reviewing all city contracts to ensure we do not enter into non-essential contracts. We have a legal mandate to produce a balanced budget—something we’ve done for seven consecutive years—so we have to act responsibly,” said Bloomberg.
The mayor is staying true to his persona as a shrewd businessman who earned his billions with his financial news company and accepts only a dollar a year in salary from the city.
The hiring freeze is going into effect immediately, although certain hires will be permitted for extraordinary needs that may arise, according to the city. The hiring freeze will indefinitely delay the Police Department’s class of 250 recruits who the mayor had planned on swearing in on Wednesday, July 8th.
Other hires being delayed include 150 firefighters, 151 traffic agents, 34 emergency 911 operators, school safety agents, 150 school crossing guards, 90 emergency medical technicians, and twenty 311 operators.