3 day furlough for Gulfport employees; council, mayor excluded - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

3 day furlough for Gulfport employees; council, mayor excluded


By Krystal Allan – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Gulfport city employees will soon feel a pinch in their pocketbooks. In a five to two vote, city council members approved three day furloughs for employees during Tuesday's council meeting. Officials said the move could save it as much as $300,000.

 "Unfortunately, this is a time we have to cut back," Ward 6 Councilman R. Lee Flowers said. "I don't want to have to cut back a single person's salary, but I surely don't want to cut jobs if I can get everyone to take a small pay cut." 

The furloughs include everyone from department directors to police.  It's a move that didn't sit well with Gulfport resident Lorraine Santos.

"You're gonna give police a furlough?" Santos questioned. "I have a problem with that because if I have somebody who's gonna try to break in my house, I want somebody there."

Ward 3 Councilwoman Ella Holmes-Hines also had problems with the furloughs.  She and Ward 1 Councilman Kenneth "Truck" Casey were the only two votes against the measure.

"I had the understanding that first responders were going to be exempt from this and that's the only reason why I will not be supporting this today," Holmes-Hines said. "First responders need to do what first responders do, see about the citizens."

The fire department is included in the furloughs, but those who fight fires are excluded. The council and mayor are also excluded. By state law, Councilman Flowers said they can only make changes to the salaries of the incoming administration.   

The council also voted to freeze longevity and education pay. It can, however, reverse that action once economic conditions improve.

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