Miramar furloughs all full-time employees as it tries to make up $23 million shortfall

All city employees will be furloughed 8 hours per week as Miramar tries to make up millions in shortfall brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

MIRAMAR, Fla. – All of Miramar’s full-time city employees — which totals about 1,000 people — will be furloughed 8 hours per week, the city announced Monday.

The furloughs are planned to begin June 11 and run for three months, saving a projected $3.8 million. In total, the city says it’s taking various measures to overcome a $23 million shortfall as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

A memo sent to city employees last week said that the furloughs would continue into December, but City Manager Vernon Hargray clarified that they are only in place through the end of the city’s fiscal year (Sept. 30), according to a news release sent Monday.

However, the city is leaving the door open for more cuts, saying that the next fiscal year “will bring its own financial challenges and the city will continue to assess critical operations, and programs to evaluate any additional cost-savings options and suggestions while ensuring that the city’s most important and critical functions continue.”

Every police officer and firefighter in the city will be hit by that 20 percent pay cut starting next month. Union heads said they were caught off guard by last week’s memo introducing the furloughs, and they expressed concern about reducing the number of police and firefighters working at a given time.

“I think public safety should be the last thing looked at when a city is faced with drastic cuts claiming they have to make,” said Rob Skirvin, President of the Broward County Police Benevolent Association.

James Estep of the IAFF Local 280, a union for firemen, said: “The fact that we are going to have less people on a scene, not only is that a reduction to the safety of the citizens, but to us as well.”

Part-time and as-needed employees are excluded from the furloughs, as are interns.

Commissioner Yvette Colbourne is sponsoring a resolution for a no-furlough plan that is expected to be on the agenda for Wednesday’s commission meeting. Some city workers have planned a protest outside city hall coinciding with that meeting.

In other cost-cutting measures, the city has put a freeze on promotions, cut travel and training costs, and delayed or modified some projects.

“City employees are like family and they are our most valuable assets. My primary objective is to protect everyone from layoffs, including our first responders,” Hargray said in the city’s news release.

“City revenues have dramatically declined as a result of the economic impact brought on by the coronavirus. As we work to protect the health and safety of our community, we had to make some difficult decisions about the city’s finances and our workforce, to protect the financial stability of the city. We will continue to monitor the situation and make the necessary adjustments while making our employees and residents a priority.”

More information is available at MiramarFL.gov/Furloughs.

About the Authors:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.