Furloughs affecting about 1,000 municipal employees, meant to help mitigate lost revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic, will begin in Tulsa this Friday.
Michelle Brooks, communications director for the City of Tulsa, said the average Tulsan won't see much in the way of reduction in services, and no reduction at all in emergency services.
"This does not impact public safety: our police, fire, 911, our utilities services," Brooks said. "Citizens are not going to see an impact there."
"The only difference they will see is that on Fridays, from noon to 5 p.m., City Hall and other city facilities will be closed," Brooks said. "So, really make sure to take care of city business during the week if at all possible, and there's always online systems that can help people walk through those processes, as well."
Brooks said the furloughs, which are to last through December, will help make up for $4 million of the projected $13 million shortfall caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
"Right now, the pandemic is new to everyone. Everyone's dealing with it as well as we can," Brooks said. "Thanks to the efficiencies the departments have put in, and also the rainy day fund that tee mayor and council have put in place in the last few years, that really is help leveraging some of that amount we are expecting less of this year."
Mayor G.T. Bynum announced the furloughs at a budget presentation in April. "We are doing this to protect the jobs of our team at the city of Tulsa, and this kind of reduction in pay, I believe, is necessary going into a fiscal year with great economic uncertainty both locally and nationally," Bynum said. The mayor said he, personally, would be receiving the furlough, as well.
The full announcement listing the affected departments and services is available on the City of Tulsa website here.