Metro announces layoffs to deal with budget shortfall

Posted by Trina Edwards - email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Metro announced Thursday that a budget shortfall is causing a service reduction and may force fare increases by then end of the year.

In addition, Metro is reorganizing its administrative staff to maximize productivity and efficiency. As a result, 32 salaried (non-union) employee positions are affected, effective immediately.

The following employment actions are being taken:

• 12 full-time salaried employees were notified that their jobs will no longer be funded; their last day of work is today

• 9 part-time positions will no longer be funded; 7 of those positions are currently filled and the employees are being notified

• 2 full-time employees are voluntarily retiring by the end of the year

• 1 employee has voluntarily moved from full-time to part-time

• 1 full-time position has been downgraded a pay level

• 7 open full-time positions have been eliminated

Due to the decrease in part-time positions, Metro's bus information call center will no longer be open on Saturdays beginning in January, and the hours of the information booth at Government Square also will be shortened.

These salaried employment actions are being taken regardless of the level of service reduction Metro makes to balance the 2010 budget. Metro has recommended a 12% service reduction with a fare increase proposal that must be approved by Cincinnati City Council before Nov. 20. Without the fare increase, Metro service will be cut 20 percent, effective Dec. 27, 2009.

Metro officials say Cincinnati City Council's approval of the fare increase (needed for the 12 percent service cut option) will save 55 union jobs for bus drivers and maintenance employees and almost 1 million rides for customers, compared to the 20 percent service reduction.

"We've been working for months on a balanced package to address the huge 2010 budget shortfall while having the least impact on our customers. We've reduced costs, deferred capital purchases, reorganized our administrative staff. The final actions will be the proposed fare increases, if approved, and a service reduction," said Marilyn Shazor, Metro's CEO. "This is a painful time for our customers and our employees. We hope that the new year will bring a turnaround in the economy that allows us to offer more to the community, not less."

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