The City today announced it will furlough approximately 600 employees as a result of the impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The furloughs impact part-time hourly and/or seasonal staff in Recreation and Cultural Services facilities that are currently closed or unable to provide programming, including positions such as class instructors, lifeguards, and stagehands.
“Extended facility closures combined with expected lost revenues led to the difficult decision,” said City Manager Darin Atteberry. “These are valued colleagues that provide programming and support that enriches our community. They are important members of our City workforce, and my heart goes out to them during this unfortunate and challenging reality.”
City facilities closed to the public on March 16. All employees were guaranteed continued pay through April 17, and pay was then extended through April 30. The City was hopeful the closures would be shorter; however, it is now clear many facilities and program areas will not be able to reopen for some time.
“The reach and impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus is bigger than any of us could have ever imagined,” said City Manager Darin Atteberry. “City revenues have dramatically declined as a result of local business closures, and as we fight to protect the health and safety of our community, we will continue to have to make difficult decisions about the City’s finances, services and workforce. We are carefully monitoring the health of our community and local economy, and I hope to reopen these facilities as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Furloughed employees were notified on April 24, and their last day of pay will be April 30. Unpaid administrative leave will begin May 1 and is expected through at least the end of June. Decisions to recall staff to active service, extend the furlough, or make further workforce reductions will be made by June 1.
Furloughed employees may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Through the CARES Act, the federal government is providing an additional $600 (weekly) in addition to regular unemployment insurance benefits. The City’s Human Resources department is working with employees to share information about unemployment benefit options.