By Rebecca Bowe
February 20 is a date that many city workers have probably looked toward with anxiety ever since Mayor Gavin Newsom first announced the 2008-09 midyear budget cuts. Tomorrow, 236 layoffs of city employees will take effect, signifying the first (but not the worst) of several waves of job cuts that will be dealt in an effort to remedy budget shortfalls for the current fiscal year and the 2009-10 fiscal year. On March 20, another 22 city employees will lose their jobs, and two months from now, yet another 94 layoffs will become effective, according to Deputy Controller Monique Zmuda. All of these pink slips are being distributed to address the current year’s budget deficit.
Many of the layoffs that will take effect tomorrow are concentrated in the Department of Public Health. According to a breakdown of layoffs by department provided by the City Controller’s office, 49 are unit clerks in DPH, another 21 are nursing assistants and 13 are licensed vocational nurses. (These numbers don’t include unfilled positions that were eliminated from the budget.)
But these blows won’t be the heaviest: On May 1, an unknown but likely much larger number of layoffs will take effect as part of the city’s attempt to remedy the 2009-10 budget shortfall, which is projected to be more than $500 million. “I’m assuming that’s going to be much larger because we are working with a larger deficit,” Zmuda said, but added that she did not yet know what that number would be.