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City lays off five more employees

Jason Singer • Jun 4, 2010 at 12:34 AM

The hits just keep coming.

Five Sandusky employees received layoff notices Thursday, and city leaders said they'll be laying off a sixth employee next week.

That would bring Sandusky's total layoffs this year to about 25.

In the latest round of cuts, the engineering department appears to suffer the brunt of the blow. It will lose at least four employees, according to city records released Thursday.

All six of the affected workers belong to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, one of the city's three unions, interim city manager Don Icsman said.

"We've said these moves were coming for awhile," Icsman said. "But that doesn't make it any less difficult."

City officials hope the layoffs will lead to a nearly balanced budget, especially after a tumultuous 2009, when the city's budget was about $900,000 off the mark.

Earlier this year, Sandusky finance director Hank Solowiej said the AFSCME layoffs would bring the city within about $20,000 of a balanced budget.

But that depends on revenues meeting projections, Solowiej said.

As of last month, the city's income-tax revenues were down 10.3 percent compared to last year, while the city only projected a 4 percent decrease. If income-tax revenues remain down 10 percent the entire year, the city could lose hundreds of thousand of dollars.

Moreover, that's contingent on admissions tax and hotel/motel tax revenues meeting projections.

The city will release its latest financial report by early next week, Solowiej said.

Adding to fiscal woes, Sandusky may also have to pay more than $1 million toward repairs following its housing scandal, if the city's insurance company doesn't cover the costs.

That said, Icsman is hoping the city can save money in other areas.

City officials are still negotiating with two unions. The police union signed a new collective bargaining agreement earlier this year, but it also re-engaged the city's negotiating team last month, a possible move to gain concessions in the near future.

Negotiations with the AFSCME union, meanwhile, are ongoing. The city couldn't layoff AFSCME workers until June because of an agreement former city manager Matt Kline signed with that union.

The city had factored potential AFSCME layoffs into its budgeting process earlier this year.

"I hope there will be the same type of beneficial things with AFSCME that there was with fire," Icsman said. "And that will move us even closer to a balanced budget or even beyond that."

While the layoffs were anticipated for some time, the grisly news doesn't lessen the blow for workers.

City officials said these employees received layoff notices:

* Marsha Mulvin, senior account clerk II in general services ($20.16/hour, 22.8 years service)

* Earl Mullins, building inspector I in engineering ($27.65/hour, 10.4 years service)

* Steve Ritzenthaler, electrical inspector in engineering ($27.65/hour, 26.4 years service)

* Ed Dayringer, engineering technician III in engineering ($22.82/hour, 8 years service)

* Rudy Hartung, registered surveyor in engineering ($27.65/hour, 17 years service)

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