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Seattle City Council furloughs for some, not all?
Posted by Susan Gilmore
Now, for an item away from the campaign.
With most of the city's unions agreeing to take a two-week unpaid furlough next year, Councilmember Jean Godden sent out an e-mail to her colleagues suggesting that the council, where salaries are set by law, donate back to the city the equivalent of two weeks' pay.
Today Godden mailed a check to the city equivalent to two weeks of her salary.
"I have decided that I want to participate fully with other city employees and have agreed to take an equivalent reduction in pay," said Godden in a news release. "Since, by law, I cannot have my salary reduced or increased while serving an elected term, I will write a check for $5,034.39, representing 10 days of wages, plus the city's share of Social Security, Medicare and Retirement back to the City."
She said her three-member staff will take the two-week unpaid furlough.
In the earlier e-mail, sent Aug. 27, Godden said, "Union members have displayed a commendable loyalty to their fellow workers and to the city family and I am so grateful to them for their willingness to sacrifice. I have been urging councilmembers to commit to furloughs in the legislative department. I realize this decision will adversely affect our valued fellow workers, but I believe it is the right thing to do."
Councilmember Sally Clark, writing in the Ballard News Tribune, wrote, "While the Legislative Department isn't a big department that can save big money through furloughs, I will personally advocate for Council and department staff to take furloughs. If, by taking furloughs, we can stretch safety net services further, then we should do it. Since elected officials aren't allowed to change their own salary it means I'll write a check back to the city. Workers throughout the city have made the sacrifice, and I think we should as well."
And Councilmember Tim Burgess said he, too, will write a check to the city for the furlough equivalent.
But Council President Richard Conlin called Godden's suggestion "a grandstanding thing. It's not something I'd particularly care to do."
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