The mayor of New Jersey's largest city announced furloughs and pay cuts for more than 2,000 municipal employees one week after a new state rule cleared the way for the action.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker said Tuesday he will impose 18 days of unpaid furloughs through the end of next year on all full-time employees except for police officers and firefighters -- a move expected to save 5 percent of their annual salaries. The salaries of 61 top city staffers, including Booker's own $137,022 annual pay, will be reduced an additional 2 percent.
Booker said the cost-cutting moves are needed to avoid layoffs, sustain the city's comeback and stabilize its budget amid a deep recession that has pushed the city unemployment rate to a 5-year high of 12.5 percent.
"This is a difficult time of sacrifice for our city," Booker said. ``We are following our governor's lead by doing what's necessary in this fiscal crisis."
New Jersey's Civil Service Commission adopted a rule March 25 giving Gov. Jon S. Corzine and local governments emergency power to impose temporary layoffs because of the economic crisis. Corzine wants to save $35 million by forcing state workers to take two days off this spring. He also sought the authority to furlough them for 12 days -- one day a month -- beginning in July.