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Madison mayor rolls back mandatory furloughs

Madison mayor rolls back mandatory furloughs

City-County Building (copy) (copy)

City-County Building, 210 Martin Luther, King Jr. Blvd.

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Madison municipal employees will no longer be required to participate in cost-reducing furloughs because of the direct aid the city expects to receive from the federal government as a part of the COVID-19 relief bill. 

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said in a statement Monday that this means the city can avoid service cuts that accompany furloughs and be in a better position to support recovery in the private sector.

“With federal aid on the way, my top priority is to make sure there are no further reductions in the critical services our residents depend on,” Rhodes-Conway said. 

The federal $1.9 trillion stimulus package, known as the American Rescue Plan, provides $362 billion to state and local governments for direct relief for COVID-19 costs, revenue losses and economic recovery. 

Of that, Madison expects to receive $50 million over the next two years. This will offset a “significant” portion of the city’s lost revenue due to the pandemic, according to the mayor’s statement. 

Because of the federal aid, the city no longer needs to continue work-share plans after March 14. Federal work-share participation has saved the city an estimated $500,000 while also causing a reduction in some city services.

[Madison moves forward with voluntary furloughs]

The 2021 budget as adopted by the City Council and signed by Rhodes-Conway in the fall included mandatory furloughs that were going to affect about 1,700 general municipal employees. 

Last November, the City Council adopted a voluntary program that would allow city employees to sign up for furloughs in 2021 and delay implementation of any mandatory furloughs until after March 31, pending a review of the salary savings generated by the voluntary program.

Finance Director Dave Schmiedicke said Monday that an estimated 126 employees signed up for voluntary furloughs, which would have saved the city approximately $189,000. However, none of them were implemented because the program was not slated to begin until April. 

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Under the voluntary program, city employees will be able to sign up with their supervisor’s approval for unpaid time away from Dec. 1 to Dec. 15. City staff will determine the remaining balance needed through a mandatory furlough program and implement that next April.