BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Mayor Joe Ganim said Thursday that he is seeking to avoid more city employee layoffs in Bridgeport by agreeing to $4 million in salary freezes and other concessions with city labor unions.
The concessions are necessary to achieve the savings needed to close the current budget deficit and end the fiscal year in balance on June 30, he said.
Ganim said his administration has worked diligently to close the $20 million budget gap it inherited when he took office in December – taking steps such as cutting nearly 100 employees from municipal service, reorganizing city departments to eliminate unnecessary positions, instituting unpaid furloughs and salary freezes for appointed officials, restructuring city debt, and working with uniformed services to reduce overtime in the Bridgeport Fire and Police departments.
"This has been a tough fiscal year for the city of Bridgeport and this administration wants to avoid another round of layoffs if we can,” said Bridgeport Chief Administrative Officer John Gomes. “We have been in negotiations with organized labor for months, but time is growing short to close our current fiscal year deficit. We are willing to be as flexible as possible but the bottom line is we need more savings. Separating employees is always a last resort and a difficult decision, but one we are ready to make if we have no other options.”
In addition to other actions, Bridgeport also offered early retirement incentives to any city employees who achieved at least 15 years of municipal service. So far, some 51 municipal employees have taken advantage of the offer and will retire by June 30.
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