MANCHESTER, N.H. – The COVID-19 pandemic has issued an economic toll to many parts of the American economy, and city employees in Manchester may feel that impact as well if life does not return to normal soon.
Earlier this week, the Manchester Board of Aldermen discussed the potential furlough of non-essential employees at some point in the near future, with Aldermen referencing the fact that expected municipal revenues will likely be lower than projected due to deadline extensions and other hardships faced by Manchester residents.
Alderman at-Large Dan O’Neill mentioned that 6-out-of-7 municipal employees are considered essential, blunting the possible savings that the city experience unleashing non-essential employees onto the unemployment rolls.
Alderman at-Large Joseph Kelly Levasseur urged that the move be made immediately, while Ward 7 Alderman Ross Terrio believed the measure may need to be considered if stay-at-home orders continue past mid-May.
Ward 4 Alderman Jim Roy requested additional information on budget forecasting before making a decision and Ward 6 Alderman Elizabeth Moreau also echoed concerns regarding municipal budget forecasts.
Mayor Joyce Craig informed the board that while municipal revenue has been down in many areas since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, city reserve funds are holding steady for now. In response to a question from Ward 12 Alderman Keith Hirschmann, she informed the board that a hiring freeze for non-essential employees has been on the books since the era of former Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas.