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Norwalk implements hiring freeze

Mayor Harry Rilling.

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling has instituted a spending and hiring freeze in expectation of a budget shortfall as Connecticut shifts its funding to its cities.

“While the city will honor all current contracts, non-essential spending has been curtailed and any new contractual arrangements or costs impacting spending is being carefully reviewed,” Rilling quoted as saying in a press release sent Wednesday morning.

The Connecticut legislature is struggling to approve a biennial budget, with observers commenting that their informal deadline is November, when Educational Cost Sharing (ECS) payments are made to municipalities. The state is being run under an executive order issued by Gov. Dannel Malloy, which would be vacated if the legislature approves a budget. Under Malloy’s latest revision, Norwalk’s education funding was restored but city-side funding was cut.

The Connecticut School Finance Project on Tuesday released an analysis that compared different state budget proposals. The analysis states that Gov. Dannel Malloy has proposed a $3.3 million reduction in education aid; State Senate Republicans propose a $79,502 cut; House Republicans propose a $4.6 million cut; and House Democrats propose a $745,442 addition. There are two versions of Senate Bill 2, a proposal to reform education funding; the cost neutral version offers a $1.4 million cut to Norwalk.

In a chart labeled “town aid plus ECS,” the project states that Norwalk faces a $3.4 million reduction in overall funding.

Norwalk Finance Director Bob Barron is quoted in Wednesday’s press release as saying on Aug. 24 that, “{T}he spirit of this freeze is to eliminate all discretionary spending until such a time that we understand the full extent of the funding losses from the state, and perhaps even afterwards.  The Mayor expects this to be a hard freeze, but will consider exceptions if you can provide sufficient justification that the spending is in the city’s best interest.”

The hiring freeze means that no open positions for the current fiscal year will be filled unless an offer letter has already been extended, the release states. The city is not laying off any employees, and all current staff will continue to be paid.

Rilling is quoted as saying, “I’m confident that my department heads can continue to deliver all essential city services by temporarily covering vacancies with current personnel because we cannot afford to hire any more people until we know where we stand with the state.”

3 comments

Rick August 31, 2017 at 2:10 pm

This makes sense its election time, cut fire cut police or not hire to maintain a full crew and you get what?

Fire and police voting him back in why one asked?

Overtime without a full force everyone gets overtime.

The cost of running a city should never start at essential services,those park dept workers drawing overtime on Sunday will continue,hiring outside help by the parking authority will continue and the DPW will buy salt in december.

Maybe the rudder can wait first the city needs a boat in the water, like the five on Norwalk river anyone lmoe the cost of all five city boats that are not used all the time?

Yep headlines look great its out of Duffs playbook instead of cutting what we don’t need at election time its a freeze so who protects the city now and its new west ave metro area ?

Just Another Norwalk Voter September 1, 2017 at 1:23 pm

Where’s our State Senator Bob Duff when you need him?
I recall Bob saying that Norwalk will be getting more state funding not less.
Bob Duff – your constituents in Norwalk all hope you will keep your word and get more funding for our schools and city!

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NancyOnNorwwalk.com was conceived as the place to go for Norwalk residents to get the real, unvarnished story about what is going on in and around their city. NancyOnNorwalk does not intend to be a print newspaper online; rather, it exists to pull the curtain back and shine a spotlight on how Norwalk is run and what is happening regarding issues that have an impact on taxpayers’ pocketbooks and safety. As an independent site, NancyOnNorwalk’s first and only allegiance is to the reader.

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Nancy came to Norwalk in September 2010 and, after reporting on Norwalk for two years for another company, resigned to begin Nancy On Norwalk so she engage in journalism the way it was meant to be done. She is married to career journalist Mark Chapman, has a son, Eric (the artist and web designer who built this website), and two cats – a middle-aged lady and a young hottie who are learning how to peacefully co-exist.