Council debates delayed layoffs

Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK – Delayed layoffs caused heated debate on the city council dais Tuesday.

Councilman Dennis Hayes asked why six layoffs scheduled to take place Jan. 1 did not occur after they were voted on Nov. 29.

“In my opinion, it’s in direct defiance to a resolution, which I don’t think is tolerable,” Hayes said.

City Administrator John Zech responded, saying he halted the layoffs after a “fruitful” discussion with labor union American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees that he thought would lead to concessions before the layoffs were to take effect.

“I went on instinct that there was going to be some kind of report that I could make to you on Jan. 10 that indicated the AFSCME concessions,” Zech said, adding that layoff notices were issued the next day.

But Hayes said the order should have been followed through with and that Zech did not have authority to act on his own. The layoffs, with the addition of the reduction of more than 8 employees from full to part time, would have saved the general fund, still facing a more than $2.5 million shortfall, an estimated $339,000, according to a September Plante and Moran report.

“I’m operating as though Jan. 1 someone was going to be gone or part time to save this city the money it desperately needs,” Hayes said. “I know it’s a pittance, but that was our directive.”