Yonkers, NY — The Yonkers City Council Democratic Caucus called for an immediate hiring freeze on all municipal staff positions, Tuesday. Citing concerns over the forthcoming city budget process, Council President Khader plans to introduce a resolution recommending an immediate municipal hiring freeze at a meeting of the City Council’s Rules Committee on Tuesday, April 3rd, supported by Majority Leader Michael Sabatino, Councilwoman Corazon Pineda-Isaac, and Councilwoman Shanae Williams.
“The projected budget shortfall that our city is facing calls for immediate action. Staff salaries constitute a significant portion of the annual city budget, and until we see the Mayor’s proposed budget for the coming fiscal year, it would prudent to delay filling any vacant positions,” said Council President Khader in a statement. “The coming budget process is going to force our city to make some very tough decisions, and we cannot afford to make those decisions even harder through continued and potentially irresponsible hiring. Hard working families in Yonkers need to know that their elected officials are taking a long-term approach to the city’s finances.”
Council President Khader’s hiring freeze proposal provides exemptions to positions funded by state or federal grants, and those that are demonstrated to be revenue generating and self-funding.
“I firmly believe that continued hiring as our city is facing this budget shortfall, before we even have a budget plan for the coming fiscal year, is not in the best interests of the City and our taxpayers. Yonkers residents deserve to know that their city government is being proactive in our budget process, and is taking every step necessary to protect taxpayers,” added Council President Khader.
“We are facing a tough budget this year – we expected this, which is why my colleagues and I went to Albany to push for more funds earlier this year. Our state legislature is doing everything they can to help us here in Yonkers, but until we know more about where we stand with the budget, this hiring freeze is a necessity. The administration has an unofficial hiring freeze in place, but I think it’s in everyone’s best interests to make it official so we can have time to work on the budget,” said Councilwoman Shanae Williams.
The Democratic Caucus has made several trips to Albany since January 1, 2018 to lobby the state legislature for increased Aid to Municipalities (AIM) funding.
Democratic Majority Leader Michael Sabatino added, “With the significant threat of cuts to our workforce, I support the hiring freeze which I understand was recently implemented by the Mayor. To not have this freeze would be irresponsible as we move into our budget process for the coming year.”
“New hires funded by city dollars at this point would be a reckless move in light of the fiscal state of our city,” said Councilwoman Corazon Pineda-Isaac. “While I applaud the Mayor for implementing a hiring freeze in the past, I believe it is important for the Council to reinforce the need for a freeze. We must be very delicate with our spending and closely inspect this upcoming budget. It is up to us as legislators to come up with financial solutions and strategies on how to get through this budget year while also thinking of future goals and plans that will allow us to prepare for future years.”
The Republican Members of the Yonkers City Council joined their Democratic counterparts, Tuesday in supporting an immediate City hiring freeze, noting that the lack of assistance in the new State budget leaves Yonkers with a massive deficit.
“The State failed us once again,” said Minority Leader Michael Breen, “While our state senators and assembly members were voting for a budget that contained an additional $12 million to close Albany’s budget gap, they failed to put an extra nickel in for the City of Yonkers to meet its own needs.”
The Republican members concluded by saying, “We stand with our Democratic Council counterparts in acting now to meet the budget crises that the State’s inaction is imposing on Yonkers. It’s a shame that Albany’s representatives in the State Legislature were able to bring home the bacon while our representatives delivered nothing but goose eggs.”