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Mayor’s Top-heavy Layoff Protection Scheme

Mayor’s Top-heavy Layoff Protection Scheme

The Mayor of Houston, Annise Parker’s, administration is getting ready to layoff about 2,300 city employees (747 of them already laid off). We believe a more effective approach would be for all department heads to work collectively on one master financial plan. A plan that could analyze their respective functions and highlight the operating costs of those functions, respectively. This would determine the workforce needs in respective departments. Since the salaries of the civilian employees come through the general funds and from general tax sources, reducing the number of high salaried officials would work to offset budget shortfalls.

In addition to possibly reducing the number of non-essential employees, administration should evaluate, first, those at the top to get a good picture of their salaries or where the BIG MONEY is! It is beyond comprehension that there is no discussion or investigation about the top-heavy administrative ways of the Public Works and Engineering Department. We have posted earlier, the list of several top officials in this department who are making over SIX FIGURE SALARIES. The ratio of employees earning six figures to those who earn less than $45,000 is 1:3.  These lower wage earners would eventually be the scapegoats of the budget shortfall mitigation through layoffs. YOU DO THE MATH!

WHY DOES THE PUBLIC WORKS AND ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT GET A WAIVER FROM LAYOFF? WHY THE PROTECTIVE HANDLING OF THIS DEPARTMENT?  It is obviously that the Mayor is not getting a true financial picture of this department’s Financial Expenditure Report.  We believe the mayor is either not well informed about the gross mismanagement of the financial activities and overstaffed employees in this department or is protecting the top officials for political gains.

Here’s a recent memo by the Director announcing, with no decipherable good reason, that “NO layoffs are currently planned for Public Works and Engineering (PWE):”

LAYOFF SHOULD BE ACROSS THE BOARD! It should NOT be a pick and choose game!

Glean the list other departments staff expected to be laid off, but the six figure salaried top officials, along with the regular engineering staff, would be spared. This is a clear evidence of favoritism for Engineers over non-Engineers. 

Furthermore, shouldn’t Houston’s other departments’ top salaries be reviewed and scaled down to set the example of frugal measures the Mayor is dishing out to the general employees?  The below list of Houston Salaries speaks volumes in this regard.

In all the Mayor’s talk about the transparency, she needs to look seriously into this unfair approach to budget reduction and stop the unfair practice. No preference should be given to protect one group over other groups. The Mayor would face major problems in her second two-year term if the problem of budget and extra ordinary expenditures are not taken care or controlled immediately. The budget deficit would become a regular problem if Mayor did not take any action immediately. We suggest an undercover approach would be more appropriate to find out the facts about workloads in various departments in order to make a fairer decision on layoffs. Seeing is believing!  

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