Florida the rules are different here Chapter CLIV
Chapter 154 could be called fuzzy math Florida style. Last June, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio said she had no choice but to lay off 120 city employees. Almost four months later, how many of those men and women still have jobs with the City of Tampa? 63. For those doing the math at home, that's 57 employees not 120 that got laid off. What's the reason for the layoffs not happening? It's kind of complicated, so read it yourself. One City Commissioner said someone's calculator isn't working too well. Don't you just love the Sunshine State?
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TAMPA - In June, Mayor Pam Iorio stood in front of a crowded conference room and announced she had no choice but to lay off about 120 employees.
"It was obviously a very painful process to go through and tell people they will no longer be employed with the city of Tampa," Iorio said at the time.
Turns out that about half of those employees still have work at city hall, according to information the city's human resources department provided to the Tribune last week.
Initially, about 120 people were told their positions had been eliminated. Some of them were told they had bumping rights, meaning they could displace other employees within the same job classification based upon seniority in their department. About 10 employees did exactly that.
Other employees who remain employed at city hall took vacant positions the city had always intended to fill, Chief of Staff Darrell Smith said.
Also, some employees were transferred to vacant positions kept open during a hiring freeze enacted in April. Some of those positions were filled during the past several months after supervisors made a case that they were critical.
Smith said the transfers had no real effect on the financial bottom line: The layoffs, combined with the elimination of about 115 unfilled positions, resulted in about $15 million in cuts.
The city had to cut more than $20 million from its budget to respond to the state Legislature's mandates to cut property taxes. With personnel costs accounting for about 80 percent of the city's general fund, jobs had to be eliminated, officials said.
Alex Awad of the city's stormwater department was able to bump another employee, and he took a demotion. He was the supervisor for development and consumer affairs; now he is a project engineer.
Getting a letter telling him that his position was eliminated was stressful, he said, but not as wrenching as going through the bumping process.
"It's hard to tell someone, 'Oh, by the way, I'm taking your position,'" Awad said.
Councilmen Charlie Miranda and Tom Scott said they are glad the city was able to find work for dozens of the affected employees. But they question what they were told in June.
"They must have a calculator that doesn't work too well or a presentation that was flawed," Miranda said. "It certainly does send a mixed message."
Said Scott: "I really don't know why they said 120 people, and now it's 57. To find out now it's only 57 is somewhat surprising."