Monterey Park to End Furloughs In Spring 2014

By EGP Staff Report

On a unanimous vote, the Monterey Park council approved the end of furloughs for city hall employees and reinstated a five-day workweek that will begin next year.

City council members voted to again open city hall five days a week beginning April 1, 2014, ending employee furloughs nine months earlier than scheduled.

During the Nov. 19 council meeting, Mayor Teresa Real Sebastian thanked residents and employees for being patient during challenging fiscal times.

Monterey Park City Hall is located at 320 W. Newmark Ave.(EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Monterey Park City Hall is located at 320 W. Newmark Ave.(EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

“The City Council recognizes the sacrifice the General Employees made these past three years assisting the city with the difficult but necessary steps to ensure the city’s future financial health,” Real Sebastian said. “Ending furloughs early is our way of saying “thank you.”

Since October 2012, Monterey Park employees have experienced a 10% cut in their hours and city hall has been closed on Fridays.

The three unions representing workers classified as “general employees,” SEIU, the Mid-Management Association (MMA) and the Confidential Employees’ Association (CEA), approved the furlough plan as an alternative to layoffs. According to the approved policy, the agreed upon 10% cut in worker’s hours was to be reduced to 5% between April 2014 and January 2015.

Monterey Park’s improved financial outlook is being credited for the earlier than anticipated end of furloughs and reopening city hall for business five days a week starting in the spring.

Union representatives told the council they are “much encouraged” by their decision and proud of the role city employees played in helping Monterey Park improve its financial footing.

“We, as a group, strive to consistently strengthen and continually build upon, our commitment to serve all of the Monterey Park residents,” SEIU President Chris Reyes said.

Currently, City Hall is only open Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. When the furloughs end next year it will open Monday through Thursday 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The 33-month furlough saved Monterey Park over $1 million a year, according to city staff.

“This [decision recognizes] that when the city hit their troubles three years ago that miscellaneous employees stepped up to the plate and accepted furloughs,” said Director of Human Resources and Risk Management Thomas J. Cody.

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December 12, 2013  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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