Mayor Iorio announces more cuts, layoffs
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11/14/07 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

This afternoon at City Hall, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio unveiled a new plan she called “Changing the Business of Government” in which she announced the partial privatization of some city government services.

The changes will result in the layoffs of 100 additional city employees over the next six to seven months.

The areas of city government to be hit hardest are Janitorial Services, where 38 employees will be laid off; and Security Services, where a minimum of 50 employees will be fired.

Iorio said she planned to notify those employees today.

These two changes are among the 11 ideas Iorio says will save the city $3.4-million per year. Last summer, in response to the Legislature-mandated budget cuts, Iorio said the city eliminated 214 full-time positions plus seasonal and part-time positions, resulting in a $14-million savings for the city.

Some of those people who lost jobs found other jobs within the city, but Iorio said that probably won’t happen again this time. But with revenues continuing to decline, those types of across-the-board cuts are not sustainable, according to Iorio.

Iorio was asked how privatizing those laid off employees would save the city money since the companies would have to charge the city for their profits. Iorio conceded that the private employees would probably not have the same retirement and health insurance benefits as the city employees they replaced. But she said that rather than keeping those employees and reducing benefits of all 3,600 city employees, she would rather only negatively affect the 100 employees who were laid off.

According to a 17-page pamphlet that touted the money-saving changes for the city, the privatization of the 38 janitorial employees would save the city $950,000. The full-color pamphlet said the elimination of 50 security service employees in favor of private companies would save $35,000. Another $465,000 would be saved by consolidating mowing and maintenance contracts spread over seven city departments. The remaining savings would be from implementing a new inventory management system, using electronic payments to vendors, streamlining time card processing, shifting all employees to bi-weekly paychecks, centralizing payroll functions, switching to an electronic bid notification tool and centralizing management of client technology equipment and software.

These changes will result in laying off 12 people in addition to the janitorial and security employees. Iorio said the city would also transition to online auctions of city properties.

But these aren’t the only changes in store for city employees. Iorio said in the next phase of her three year “Changing the Business of Government," she plans to consider six additional cost cutting measures, including not offering a pension plan for new general employees and offering them a 401(k) type plan instead. The changes in next phase could result in even more layoffs, according to Iorio.

Iorio said consolidation of city and county services was not currently on the table.

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