CRANSTON – Mayor Kenneth J. Hopkins announced late Friday that the city is implementing a series of workforce reductions that will result in 21 positions being eliminated in order to address challenges within the city’s municipal budget.
Hopkins said nine city employees will be formally notified beginning July 15 that they will be terminated. Additionally, there will be seven retirements and five employees who will voluntarily resign. The workforce reductions, Hopkins said, will trigger a series of “bumping rights” under the contracts, which will determine which employees in their job descriptions or classifications will be relieved of their duties. Other such actions by the city will be based on employee seniority, Hopkins said.
Hopkins said these reductions are part of cost-cutting measures that will result in the city saving $2.6 million. The eliminated positions will save the city $1.5 million alone in salaries and benefits. Hopkins said salaries and related benefits consume about 70% of the city’s municipal budget.
“I take no pleasure in making this announcement today, but I have determined that it is in the long-term interest of the city’s fiscal health and Cranston taxpayers that we begin the formal process to reduce the size of our government,” Hopkins said in a statement.
The mayor also said the city spent the last month negotiating with the four labor unions representing city employees – Local 271 of the Laborer’s Union, Local 251 of the Teamsters Union, Local 301 of the International Brotherhood of Police, and Local 1363 of the Cranston Firefighters Union. While the release doesn’t specify which departments will be impacted by the reductions, Hopkins said no position within the police and fire departments will be eliminated, and the mayor’s confidential assistant position is being cut.
Compensation packages will be offered by the city for employees who voluntarily retire, Hopkins said.
Hopkins said the employee reductions are “not the final step” in the city reorganizing its government. He said further budget strategies will be evaluated and implemented in the future. The mayor said all municipal operations, including evaluating health care program alternatives, examining program fees and facility rental rates, targeted cuts to nonessential programs, scrutinizing employee overtime, and selling unused or vacant properties or assets, will continue to be reviewed.