October 05, 2005
Layoffs in New Orleans

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has announced that he will lay off 3000 municipal employees due to lack of any revenue stream for the city.

Nagin announced with "great sadness" that he had been unable to find the money to keep the workers on the payroll.

He said only non-essential workers will be laid off and that no firefighters or police will be among those let go.

"I wish I didn't have to do this. I wish we had the money, the resources to keep these people," Nagin said. "The problem we have is we have no revenue streams."

Nagin described the layoffs as "pretty permanent" and said that the city will work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to notify municipal employees who fled the city in the aftermath of Katrina, which struck about a month ago.

The mayor said the move will save about $5 million to $8 million of the city's monthly payroll of $20 million. The layoffs will take place over the next two weeks.

"We talked to local banks and other financial institutions and we are just not able to put together the financing necessary to continue to maintain City Hall's staffing at its current levels," the mayor said.

I'm sorry, but this just feels wrong to me. Congress has already allocated over $50 billion for rebuilding New Orleans. Less than 0.2% of that would be more than enough to meet the city's full payroll for the next year. I can't think of any good reason why that small piece of this money isn't being used for that purpose. Let's give New Orleans a little time to figure out what it's going to be like post-rebuilding before forcing it to permanently cut half its municipal workforce.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 05, 2005 to Hurricane Katrina | TrackBack

Why should the rest of the country pay for people not to run a city while they drain it? We didn't pay them while they strung enough coffee and cigarette breaks to fail to provide essential services when the city wasn't West Venice.

It's called unemployment. If it's good enough for we ordinary people, it's good enough for the bureaucratic rulers of New Orleans.

If not, then improve the unemployment system.

Posted by: Laurence Simon on October 5, 2005 10:18 AM

Let's see.....
The population of New Orleans has shrunk dramatically and will probably never be as large as it was. That alone indicates that the city government should be smaller. There's no way a large city work force should be subsidized by the US taxpayer. We saw a similar situation in the airline industry after 9/11. Billions were spent so airline workers could keep their jobs, and now what do we have? Airlines in bankruptcy and the need to shrink workforces and reduce costs. That taxpayer money was totally wasted.

Posted by: MaxConcrete on October 5, 2005 11:02 PM