City councilman Bill Boyd, who represents District 2, has listened to two of his colleagues, Jim Strickland and Harold Collins, propose austerity budgets as alternatives to that of Mayor Willie Herenton. But he can’t go along with the total rollback of Herenton’s raises for city employees, something that both Strickland and Collins propose.
And so he’ll be unveiling his own alternative budget Monday night as this week’s council budget sessions get under way.
“They [the city employees] are taxpayers, and they’re citizens,” Boyd said. “And many of them are doing useful work. We shouldn’t be trying to balance the budget entirely at their expense.” Boyd, a veteran city administrator under former mayor Dick Hackett, said he had always been “friendly to labor.” He said that recommendations for leaving vacancies unfilled and for laying off temporary employees might also be misguided. “Many of them are doing jobs for the city that are actually saving money,” he said.
Boyd suggested that it might prove difficult to leave the full amount of the Herenton raises in effect and that rolling them back to some degree might prove necessary. But he said there were other ways to economize that didn’t penalize city workers and promised to put forth some on Monday night.