Paducah city commissioners vote to lay off 12 people

By CJ Cassidy - bio | email

PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) - More victims of this tough economy come forward.
Paducah City Commissioners voted to layoff 12 employees Tuesday night.
City leaders expect to cut a total of 32 jobs when its all said and done, including positions that won't be filled as they come open.
Some city employees call it a plan to avoid dragging out a painful process, but not everyone agrees.
"We talked to some employees who were here in the early eighties, and they can't remember any time we've done something this drastic," said Pam Spencer, Public Information Officer for the City of Paducah.
Cutting a dozen jobs might not save too much money for some businesses, but it adds up to big bucks in Paducah.
Spencer explains that's because city leaders must trim $3.5 million off their budget.
"One of the things leading to the shortfall is the insurance premium tax which is a tax levied on home owner's insurance," Spencer said. "We are expecting for the fiscal year about a one point one million dollar shortfall and next fiscal year we have some expenses that weren't in this year's budget."
City Commissioners voted four to one to approve the layoffs and other program cuts.
Commissioner Richard Abraham says he held out because he felt cutting jobs should have been a last ditch effort.
"My dissenting vote even though I felt that it was the right thing to do, wasn't enough to keep their jobs," Abraham said. "At the end of the day they are out of a job."
City leaders also plan on leaving a few police officer positions vacant when they come open, and that worries some residents.
"You wonder if there's going to be enough emergency personnel for situations that occur and hope everything works out for the best for the city," said Tara Patterson.
Commissioner Abraham says the city leaders will keep a close eye on the need for emergency personnel and make any changes if necessary.
Employees who were laid off will get a three month severance package and health insurance coverage through the end of June.

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