Aldermen will discuss city hiring freeze on Tuesday

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MANCHESTER, N.H. – On Tuesday, the Manchester Board of Aldermen are expected to discuss possible cost-saving measures forced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this month, Mayor Joyce Craig told the board she would investigate the possibility of furloughing employees, with Craig saying in a memorandum to the Aldermen released this weekend that furloughing is generally not feasible. She notes that this is due in large part to RSA 275:43-b and collective bargaining agreements with the city’s employee unions.

Currently, only 37 of the 979 total city employees are not working, with all of the non-working employees paid on an hourly basis during normal times.

The memorandum also notes that layoffs would require the city to pay for unemployment compensation, payments of unused benefits and an impact on the city’s ability to provide services to its residents.

Instead, she proposes a hiring freeze of 66 “non-essential” vacant budgeted positions, which would free up just over $830,000 over the last quarter of the current fiscal year and $1.7 million during the upcoming fiscal year. Putting temporary summer employment opportunities on hold would also save just over $125,000 over the next quarter and just under $400,000 for the first quarter of the next fiscal year.

Joyce’s memorandum also noted that the $2.2 trillion CARES Act has helped fund the Manchester Transit Authority and Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.

“Many of our city workers are on the front lines, dealing with the effects of COVID-19,” she said in the memorandum. “I’m grateful for their hard work and dedication in continuing to help our employees stay safe and stay focused. We need to remember this won’t last forever, and we’ll need our city employees ready to transition back to work once the stay at home order is lifted.”

The item of one of 29 on Tuesday’s agenda, not including any items Aldermen may wish to address during new business and the Finance Committee meeting that will take place on the same evening during an adjournment of the regular meeting.

The board will also hold a public hearing on the mayor’s budget on Monday night at 6 p.m., with residents able to make their comments in the Aldermanic Chambers at City Hall while the Aldermen listen remotely.

About this Author

andrewsylvia

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.