Some people with Boston government jobs could be asked to leave their positions early.
According to an article by the Boston Herald, the city’s Finance Commission is recommending that Mayor Thomas M. Menino offer early retirement incentives to up to 400 city workers. This move would help cut more than $84 million from the city’s $140 million budget deficit.
The Commission hopes that 300 to 400 city workers who are close to retirement be paid to leave early and that one-third of those Boston jobs be left vacant, which would save about $34 million. However, Menino wants to wait and see how many workers take an offer already on the table, which would give 8 percent of salary to workers eligible to retire next year and whose unions accept a one-year wage freeze.
While a wage freeze could save up to $55 million, some officials think more needs to be done to curb spending, particularly by police and fire workers. The police department’s overtime budget came in $17 million higher than expected, while the fire department’s overtime budget came in $5.3 million more.
During October, the State of Massachusetts announced that it could cut up to 1,000 government jobs because of its $1.4 billion budget gap. Governor Deval Patrick planned to lower spending by about $1 billion through job eliminations and other savings, including cutting contributions to the state pension by $100 million. Patrick also had proposed taking $200 million from the state’s rainy-day fund.
During December 2008, the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy area’s government industry employed 309,100 workers, according to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is down from 309,600 workers during November 2008, but a 1.1 percent increase from last year.