City lays off 24 employees

Caught in the pincers of an economic downtown, the City of Auburn layed off 24 of its employees Tuesday.

Mayor Pete Lewis sent a memo to employees more than a month ago advising them that as the economy continued to fall, the financially-constrained City was running out of options.

"I told them that unless we came up with something, we were going to be involved with layoffs," Lewis said. "They came up with some ideas, but we knew it couldn't cover everything. So it came down to yesterday.

"It's been very hard. These are people that I know. It's the same thing that's happening at every business around," Lewis said. "It's the first time we've had to do this since 1968, and I'm not very happy about having to do it."

The City expects to save a little more than $600,000 for the remainder of 2009, and $1.5 million over the next two years.

The layoffs were spread out among all departments.

“It was a little in every single department. We looked at positions rather than persons, young, old, male, female, union and non-union. The key consideration for me is that the longer I waited, the less value the dollar would have and the more likely we would have to lay off people later,” Lewis said.

Another consideration was whether the City could still deliver the essential services of government without someone in the position.

"There's no expectation that our service level is going to drop," Lewis said.

Lewis said he doesn't ancticipate any more layoffs this year.

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