YAKIMA, Wash. - City leaders tried to clear up some of the confusion Monday around possible layoffs for city employees.
City Manager Dick Zais has told department heads to start considering layoffs, he said at the city's media briefing. He explained to them, in a memo sent out last week, he wants them to form a list of potential positions, not individuals, this month.
Zais says this is one of many options the city has to consider given the current budget gap.
"It's important to recognize that there's good people that are working hard here," he said. "But they might lose their job, through no fault of their own, just because of the circumstances of our financials at this time."
Two issues impacting the budget are the drop in sales tax revenues and rising jail costs. He explained in his memo that there was a 20 percent reduction in sales taxes from the same period a year ago. Jail expenses are rising because of an increase in arrests.
One change that is being implemented immediately is a freeze on all current and new vacant general government positions. An exception is being made for uniformed police officers, correction officers, and firefighter positions.