Pink slips were issued for the entire Manteca Community Development Department more than 30 days ago even though there was a plan in place to save their jobs.
That plan is to replace general fund money with other funds in the proposed Manteca municipal budget for the fiscal year starting July 1. Last year’s budget - which the city is still operating under - had enough funds budgeted to pay for the eight workers through July 31.
The pink slips were required since the city’s general fund was no longer going to be the source of their funding as there isn’t enough revenue to pick up the tab and keep other services intact. So the city administration complied with state employment law and issued the pink slips on the assumption the budget adoption scheduled for July 17 would keep the eight on the payroll by being paid with a non-general fund source.
During a budget workshop last month, the council indicated they had no problem with the strategy.
But then on Tuesday the council delayed the budget approval until Aug. 7 to grant citizen Bruce Lownsbery who had attended the June budget workshop as well more time to look over the budget. The council’s decision to accommodate the request threw a monkey wrench into the staffing strategy.
That’s why Mayor Willie Weatherford has called a special meeting for Monday at 8 a.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St., to consider adoption of the budget. If the council passes the budget the layoffs will be avoided at the end of business July 31.
Weatherford on Thursday said his first reaction when Councilman Steve DeBrum asked for the delay that had been requested by Lownsbery was to say no since the council had discussed the budget specifics already in public. City Manager Karen McLaughlin answered a query at Tuesday’s council meeting by saying there shouldn’t be any problem save for a three-week delay in recruiting a traffic engineer needed to get several road-related projects moving forward. Weatherford decided not to voice an objection.
After the meeting McLaughlin realized that the continuing resolution the council put in place to run the city on last year’s budget once June 30 passed meant that the city couldn’t legally retain the Community Development staff after July 31.
McLaughlin conceded that she failed to completely assess the impact of the council’s unexpected request for a delay of the budget vote when she was questioned on Tuesday.
Monday’s early morning meting will not include a public hearing as that was closed at Tuesday’s council meeting. The council, though will accept public input on the budget at that time.