Las Vegas Sun

September 2, 2014

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City Government:

Mayor: Morale not good among LV city employees

Decision to lay off 19 workers approved Wednesday by city council

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman didn't mince his words about morale among city employees today following Wednesday's announcement that 19 employees would be cut.

"Let's put it this way: Morale can't be good," Goodman said.

The fact that 17 full-time and two part-time city employees are losing their jobs on Jan. 29 because of budget cuts doesn't make for a good work climate, the mayor told reporters today at his weekly news conference.

"Nobody's happy that they guy that they've had a cup of coffee with or a martini with is not going to be here," he said. "No one is happy about this."

"But I would hope that everybody is going to work together and pull the oar in the same way and try to say that concessions have to be made, which would save their colleagues," he said. "That's going to be the next phase of this. And then we'll see what the response is going to be there. If it's a negative response, everybody's on their own and we have to do what we have to do."

The announcements of the cuts was accepted Wednesday night by the City Council, after City Manager Betsy Fretwell outlined the immediate steps that needed to be taken to deal with the drop in revenues from the consolidated tax, which is provided to the city by the state.

Along with cutting those 19 employees, the city also eliminated 54 more positions that had been held vacant as part of a plan to immediately cut $7.8 million from the city's budget for this fiscal year.

"We been working on this for over two years, trying not to reach this point," Goodman said.

Last May, the city anticipated it would see a shortfall in revenue from the consolidated taxes by about $230 million during the next five years. But since that time, the revenue is expected to nosedive another $200 million, Goodman said.

"Nobody ever anticipated that the C-tax would have crumbled the way it's crumbled -- double digits every month. It's just a very unfortunate remarkable thing," he said.

"The monies that we get from the state are just diminishing before our eyes. If they have a special session and they try to take any more from us -- which I hope they wouldn't -- it would be even more of a disaster than it is right now, as far as our employees are concerned."

Asked if there would be more layoffs in 2010, Goodman said he was hoping that city staff would be able to avert that.

Goodman said he was keeping positive. He said that the economy in Las Vegas will improve when the rest of the country regains their spending habits.

"Once they get confidence in their own financial matters in Kansas and Illinois and Ohio and they come out here to Las Vegas, where they're going to have a great vacation because everything's in place, they'll spend money again," he said. "They'll be happy and we'll be happy."

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