After eight months, half-day furloughs every Friday have come to their expected end for hundreds of City of Tulsa employees.
The furloughs were implemented to help the city deal with with a $13 million budget shortfall. Mayor G.T. Bynum said current fiscal year revenue is staying within a range where extending the furloughs is not necessary, but he and the city council are gearing up for another budget shortfall in FY22.
"The goal for me — and I imagine for my colleagues on the council, too — is that we want to make those reductions and not do it through another furloughing. I think furloughs … are a necessary thing from an emergency standpoint, but they’re not a good, long-term budgetary option," Bynum said.
The furloughs were equal to a 10% pay cut. Emergency personnel, water and sewer crews, and trash collectors were not furloughed because they are not paid out of the general revenue fund.
When the city was dealing with the last major economic downturn in 2010, then-Mayor Dewey Bartlett laid off 360 employees, including 155 police officers.
"We are not in danger of that because we had non-sworn employees willing to sacrifice their pay, and then you had an administration and a city council that had spent the last four years building up our rainy day fund in good times to be able to weather out the bad times," Bynum said.