Sept. 16, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
Mayor Bill de Blasio and his entire office staff will take one week of unpaid leave in order to help tackle the city’s fiscal crisis amid the coronavirus shutdown.
The mayor said that the mandatory furloughs – which will affect nearly 500 employees – will save the city nearly $1 million.
The city is estimated to lose around $9 billion in tax revenue because of the coronavirus shutdown and the furloughs will apply to everyone in the mayor’s administration including the office of his wife Chirlane McCray. De Blasio said he will work without pay during his time off.
“This is a painful step, but it shows just how committed we are to responsible budgeting and leading the city through these challenging times,” de Blasio said at a press briefing Wednesday.
“It was not a decision I made lightly,” he added. “It is the right thing to do at this moment in history.”
Employees will have to take a week of unpaid leave during a six-month period beginning in October, de Blasio said, as he tries to balance the city’s books.
The mayor has pleaded for a bailout from the federal government to help the city get through the crisis but without success. He has a strained relationship with President Donald Trump.
De Blasio is also trying to get the state to give it the authority to borrow money to cover the shortfall.
The mayor has warned that he may lay off 22,000 municipal employees if the city doesn’t get either federal assistance or the state doesn’t give him emergency authority to borrow $5 billion to pay for operating expenses.
“We need our partners in the state government to give New York City long term borrowing authority,” de Blasio said.
“We have to keep making tough choices to move the city forward, to keep our budget balanced,” he said.