Mayor Nutter has just written to city workers, warning them that layoff notices would be coming this week if the city does not win Harrisburg's approval for its proposed sales tax hike and pension payment deferrals.
Read the letter for yourself below:
Dear fellow City employees,
Tomorrow I will travel to Harrisburg once again to do all I can to secure final passage of House Bill 1828, legislation that gives the City the tools to overcome the damage wrought by the current recession. This bill will generate $700 million and allow us to avoid the devastating cuts that have come to be known as ‘Plan C’.
Since City Council passed a budget in May, I have personally made at least 15 trips to Harrisburg and have met with virtually every member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, urging them to support this legislation.
In the last year, Philadelphia has made difficult choices, cutting or saving $1.7 billion out of our Five Year Plan. We did our best to minimize the impact of these cuts on citizens and on public employees. We have done all that we can. There is no more left to cut without having a devastating impact on this city. If Harrisburg does not approve this bill we will need to make an additional $700 million in cuts to replace the money that we will lose. Unfortunately, this means that we will have to lay off nearly 3,000 city employees from across city government.
Honestly, at this point, we do not know just what will happen in Harrisburg this week. I promise you that we will fight until the very last second, but there is a very real possibility that we will have to issue these layoff notices on Friday.
During my 25 years in and around city government I have seen first-hand the immeasurable impact that dedicated public servants have on the lives of our fellow citizens, especially those who need our help the most. I have witnessed the sacrifice that so many of you make on a daily basis in order to serve your city.
As a City Councilman and as Mayor I have met and worked with many of you, but there are also many who I have never met. To all of you I say that I am proud to be your Mayor, I have incredible respect and admiration for your hard work and dedication, and I care deeply about each and every one of you.
Most of you came into public service to help people and to make lives better…I know I did. The very value that you bring to this city will be measured by the devastating impact on public services that will result if we have to proceed with these layoffs.
I do not want to take this action, it is one of the most painful things that any Mayor could possibly do, and I will fight to make sure that these layoffs do not come to pass.
For those of you who do receive a layoff notice this week, that is not the end. Though even receiving a notice is very painful, we will still go through the normal layoff process.
During this time your city needs you to continue to come to work, to continue to provide the vital services that so many of our fellow citizens rely upon, and to continue to support your fellow public employees in this very difficult time.
I pledge to you that I will continue to work every hour of the day and night on your behalf, and continue to fight for you, your jobs, and our city to make sure that these layoffs never become effective.
I will not even pretend to understand the full extent of the worry and concern that many of you feel at this time. I know you feel terrible about this and I do too. I know that the uncertainty of this situation and the prospect that you or your friends will receive a layoff notice is deeply troubling. But what I can tell you is that I will never stop fighting for you or for Philadelphia and that I will continue to work day and night to stand up for you and to protect the services that so many citizens rely upon.
I am still hopeful and I will never stop fighting for your or our great city that I love and serve.
Mayor Michael A. Nutter
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