City manager announces hiring freeze

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19)  -The Cincinnati City Manager has announced a hiring freeze. Effective immediately, it means no one will be hired, transferred or promoted.

On Thursday morning, City Manager Milton Dohoney wrote all department heads a memo outlying the new policy and the reasons behind it. FOX19 tracked down a copy of the memo. In it, Dohoney wrote the freeze will cover all classified positions which includes union jobs.

City leaders couldn't tell FOX19 how many positions are unfilled right now or how much money this could save the city, but when FOX 19 searched, we found 24 open positions with a salary range between $33,000 and $106,000.

Council member Jeff Berding said that while the freeze isn't ideal, it is a step in the right direction.

"Every dollar adds up for sure," said Berding. "The fact is the city workforce is going to get a lot smaller as a result of this budget. Given that we have existing people who are working very hard who have been here for many years, in some cases, are going to be losing their jobs in the budget. It's just not the time to be bringing new people in."

City leaders said the hiring freeze is a way to reduce the number of potential lay-offs. It'll allow spots to remain open for workers who could lose their jobs in a few weeks.

In Thursday's memo, Dohoney wrote: "At this point in time, we anticipate the necessity of a reduction in force, including bumping of affected employees during November and December to take effect early 2011."

It's news that has union representatives upset.

Diana Frey is the president of Cincinnati Organized & Dedicated Employees or CODE. Frey tells FOX19 she hates the fact, that just like last year, she'll probably be working down to the wire to fight for city workers' jobs. The deadline to balance the budget is December 31st.

"If in fact there's a $60-million deficit, that could cut over 900 positions," said Frey. "That's 25-percent of the workforce of the employees who provide basic services. That's police, fire, highway maintenance, trash collection, the people who do snow removal. It's going to have a very serious impact on service delivery."

The policy does not apply to hires, transfers and promotions that have already been approved. The City Manager's spokesperson Meg Olberding said city leaders will still hire a new fire chief.

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