Officials hope measures reduce need for layoffsRed Wing City Council approved several measures Monday that officials believe could reduce the number of layoffs the city might have to make later this year.
By: Jon Swedien, The Republican Eagle
Red Wing City Council approved several measures Monday that officials believe could reduce the number of layoffs the city might have to make later this year.
Measures include transferring employees, providing options for early retirement and voluntary quits.
Red Wing is facing serious budgets strain and city officials believe they'll have to cut a substantial portion of their budget. That's because they don't believe they'll receive much — if any — state aid.
"We're looking at options to reduce our staff because of the (anticipated) reduction in our local government aid," Employee Service Director Roger Seymour said.
City officials won't know whether they'll have to make any layoffs until state lawmakers wrap up their current session. If layoffs are necessary, who is terminated will be decided by what services the council decides to eliminate, Seymour said.
In the meantime, city officials are focused on reducing their staff through methods other than layoffs.
For starters, Seymour said, the city has some 20 vacant positions it has left open in recent months.
The city will now also offer early retirement. The option offers to extend an employee's family health insurance for a year and would offer a larger than normal severance package. Seymour said, however, the option might be enticing to only a handful of employees.
The voluntary quit option the city is offering would pay employees 70 percent of their unemployment benefits. Seymour said it would be an option for an employee who has another job lined up. The city administrator would have to okay the move to make sure an essential employee wasn't let go.
Once it's known if layoffs will be need, Seymour said, transferring employees could save some people their jobs. The trick would be to move an employee from a position funded by tax dollars to one that is funded by city-run enterprises, he said.
The city's other option, in the meantime, is to wish for the best.
"We're hoping we don't have to make any" layoffs, Seymour said.