The City of Greeley announced, April 28, it will furlough, with benefits, 85 employees as a result of the economic impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is in addition to the temporary layoff of 289 seasonal/temporary/hourly employees effective April 1.
Greeley officials anticipate a 10-to-20-percent budget reduction, $10.9 million to $22.3 million, in lost sales tax and other revenues brought on by the effects of the current public health crisis.
These furloughed employees make up approximately 8.8 percent of the city’s benefitted workforce. The last day of work for furloughed city employees will be April 30. Unpaid administrative leave will begin on May 1 and continue until city officials can reassess the situation in late May. The city of Greeley will pay 100 percent of benefit-eligible employees’ healthcare insurance, for individuals and families, through late May until officials reassess the furloughs. Decisions to recall staff to active service, extend the furlough, or layoff staff will be made by the end of May.
“My heart is heavy from the impact COVID-19 is having on so many people – people I care about and people who have given of themselves to serve this city. This is truly one of the most challenging situations I’ve experienced in my 15 years as City Manager, and I know it’s even more difficult for our employees. I feel for and with everyone placed on furlough and temporarily laid off. To these individuals and everyone else, I offer my whole heart and earnest commitment to strive to work through this situation, to make well-informed decisions that help Greeley return strong to a new normal,” said City Manager Roy Otto.
Officials are looking at impacts and working through multiple scenarios on how the pandemic will impact the city for the next 12 to 18 months. Before these furloughs, city officials put other saving measures in place — hiring freezes, cut travel costs, delayed or modified projects — and will continue assessing critical operations and programs to evaluate additional cost-savings options while ensuring the city’s most important and critical functions continue.
Furloughed employees were notified on April 28. While on furlough, individuals 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. State unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 benefit are available at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/covid-19-workers.