After promising no layoffs for city staff, Rob Ford admits layoffs are likely for city staff
The big news coming from city hall this morning really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Although the mayor repeatedly declared during his election campaign last year that there would be no layoffs at city hall during his tenure, the bitter reality for the Ford administration is that attrition simply won’t provide for sufficient labour savings to avoid layoffs. The buyout plan offered to city staff didn’t get the uptake it needed—we were conditionally optimistic about the buyout when it was rolled out—and as a result, Ford’s office is poised to do the exact thing it said it wouldn’t.
Sources within city staff and close to Ford confirmed this week that the directive to cut $380 million in spending, combined with what appears to be very low employee participation in the city’s buyout offer, make it virtually certain the mayor will ask council to pass a budget that pushes hundreds or thousands of gainfully employed city workers out the door.
That would represent a dramatic turnaround from last Sept. 27 — a month before Ford was elected — when he unveiled his “Saving Our City” plan on YouTube.
“Instead of a hiring freeze my plan is to reduce the city’s workforce through attrition,” Ford said, adding that about 6 per cent of city employees retire each year. “We’ll promote from within to fill many important roles with people who already have work for the city. No need for layoffs.” The actual attrition rate is 2.7 per cent.
Basically Ford was banking on an attrition rate that turned out to be unrealistic. But, really, who could have predicted that? The answer is lots of people. Former Toronto Sun columnist Rob Granatstein—who mysteriously parted ways with his employer earlier this week—called it in January, while other reporters repeatedly noted during the election that Ford’s six per cent figure was inflated. Honestly, we’re not even angry anymore: the pattern of “Rob Ford makes appealing-but-unrealistic promise” followed by “Whoops, it turns out the math was off all along” is something we’re getting used to. We’re just surprised that anybody’s actually surprised. Also, we’d like to suggest to the folks living along Sheppard, waiting for a subway to be built, to get used to it as well.
• Ford poised to break promise of no layoffs [Toronto Star]
• It’s either layoffs or major tax increases: Ford [Toronto Sun]
• Toronto mayor to city staff: take a buyout or face layoffs [Globe and Mail]
• Ford: Workers rejecting buyouts may be laid off [CBC]