Facing Massive Budget Deficit, Lightfoot Imposes Chicago City Government Hiring Freeze

Facing Massive Budget Deficit, Lightfoot Imposes Chicago City Government Hiring Freeze

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has imposed a hiring freeze across all departments in city government until further notice, according to a Tuesday memo from the city’s budget director.

“As you are all aware, the City is facing a large budget deficit next year,” Susie Park wrote in the memo to all commissioners and department heads.

“In advance of upcoming discussions regarding reductions that will be required for the 2020 Budget, effective immediately and until further notice, the Office of Budget and Management (OBM) is implementing a hiring freeze across all funds, including grants,” the memo reads, adding that the freeze “is applicable to all departments and positions.”

The freeze came days before Lightfoot was expected to deliver key updates on Chicago’s finances to the public. Lightfoot was scheduled to discuss the city’s looming budget deficit and her plan to address it in a televised speech on Aug. 29, and to hold four budget town hall meetings across the city in September.

Before his final day in office earlier this year, then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel projected that the city would face a $700 million shortfall – a number that Lightfoot later said would be even higher.

“I know that number has been put out by the Emanuel administration, but it’s worse than that,” Lightfoot said, though her administration has yet to offer its own estimate.

“As the City faces significant financial challenges in 2020 and beyond, we are exercising prudent measures and a careful review of all city department budgets so that we can identify ways to maximize operational efficiency, while continuing to provide the highest quality services to protect residents and neighborhoods,” Park said in a statement on the freeze.

The freeze “will allow the Budget Office to take a hard look at our programs, services and operational needs to determine our spending priorities for 2020,” she continued, adding, “With Chicago facing one of the largest budgetary gaps in recent history, these measures are just one part of a broader approach we must take to restore our finances and put Chicago on a path to a stronger, more secure future.”

All hires are suspended, Park wrote, except for four exceptions that require approval from the OBM and the city’s Department of Human Resources.

They include: reinstatements as required, positions for which an interview has already been scheduled, positions for which an offer has already been made and “priority positions that directly affect the health and safety” of Chicago residents, according to the memo.

The hiring freeze includes the Chicago Police Department, officials say, with the current class of recruits in the police academy expected to continue as scheduled. Park noted that the city would worked to ensure patrol coverage is not impacted by the freeze and that it would not limit personnel assigned to solving crimes.

The city estimates that the vacancies under the freeze will account for nearly 9% of the workforce, but it’s not clear how much money was expected to be saved with the new policy.

NBC Сhicago

Senior writer at the Chicago Morning Star

Related Posts
Hill’s Campaign Report: Will Lightfoot survive next month’s election?
Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, tracking the latest news on campaigns and elections Will
Lori Lightfoot Accuses Stores of Not Doing Enough for Safety
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has accused stores of not taking adequate measures to prevent themselves from being
Lightfoot does not want fed thugs in Chicago
The political leaders and civil-rights groups of Chicago said that their city had no use
Lightfoot joins in forming $5 million fund for overlooked by previous COVID-19 relief packages
Lori Lightfoot, the mayor of Chicago, is backing cash assistance for the residents of Illinois
Art Alliance Illinois Updates on State Funding for the Arts
The state of Illinois is moving to Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan for
Chicago Mayor: ‘FU’ Trump
President Donald Trump got no mercy from Illinois’ leading politicians Friday after he tweeted on
Chicago’s Mayor cheered on sanctuary cities ruling
Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot has revealed that she literally cheered when a court ruling protected
Chicago achieves flattened curve
Chicago has confirmed on Wednesday that they are ‘flattening the curve’ in limiting the coronavirus
Smokestack implosion to be investigated
Hilco Redevelopment Partners will be held accountable as Municipal officials, including Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot,
2020 Individual Artists Program grants recipients announced
The recipients of the 2020 Individual Artists Program grants announced by Mayor Lori Lightfoot and