They did it! 15,000 pink slips. Massive uncertainty (unnecessarily). And the people behind the plan run a City and County?

Well, if you know a City worker, you probably know someone who received a lay-off notice. 15,000 people were given notice that their employment will be terminated. One of the recipients reports that “in a few weeks,” people will be given “more information” about next steps. That is all she was told. Presumably, this “more information” will include how one may be able to be rehired. Not all City workers were affected. For example, the angel of dismay passed over the offices of people who negotiated contracts that require significant severance in the event of such a job action. Those people were lawyers.

Anyway, while we all understand budgets need to be balanced and, in the end, the restructuring means a few less hours worked and paid for — but no decrease in health, vacation, or pension benefits — the most feared aspect of the action has been realized: Mobs of people have no idea whether they have jobs. They are still expected to perform their responsibilities. But they have no idea whether they have jobs. And, at the moment, the rehiring process appears to be subjective. Could it be that managers will take this opportunity to prune in ways that would otherwise be illegal? Of course they will.

It is simply cruel. Regular readers (thank you!) will recall that this blog is squarely in the corner of City workers. They are a committed corps of talented professionals who personify the finest in public service. The City had an alternative to this thoughtless process: sort out the end result before advising people of the layoffs. Minimize the senseless uncertainty. Why didn’t the lawyers speak up for due process, in the most humane meaning of the phrase?

We hold a cautiously optimistic thought for the workers during this very difficult time. May things end well for all, including those ultimately without a chair when the music stops. For them, we wish a lovely and sustaining severance. Like the lawyers. LLII.

ps. Imagine the chaos when applying this tactic at the State level. It is not too soon to be thinking about your lieutenant governor choice.

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