Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

City manager silences talk of layoffs in New Port Richey

NEW PORT RICHEY — A directive issued by City Manager John Schneiger banning his department heads from discussing possible layoffs with employees has prompted a City Council member to warn against creating panic at City Hall.

In recent weeks, Schneiger has said publicly that the city's impending economic crisis will likely mean layoffs. New Port Richey owes substantial debt on a couple of redevelopment sites, while the city's property tax base took an 11 percent plunge this year and two electric utility funds are bringing in less money than expected.

With employees anxious about losing their jobs, some department heads have had discussions with their workers about possible layoffs. Schneiger said such conversations are premature. Officials have not yet determined which jobs may be cut.

"I wanted to send you this email to make it crystal clear to please not discuss any potential layoffs with any employees at this time," Schneiger wrote to his department heads Tuesday. "Our submittal of the budget will include any recommendations of reductions in force and until that time it is totally inappropriate to discuss this."

Schneiger's email continued: "Please remember that we are making only recommendations to the City Council on programs, services and staffing. It is the council that makes those decisions. When those recommendations are made to council we will inform affected employees that those recommendations have been made."

The email — which Schneiger also copied to City Council members — prompted council member Bill Phillips to question at Tuesday's meeting whether a climate of "panic" has been created.

"I understand that he had to send the email out," Phillips told the Times on Wednesday. "But when you put (the prospect of layoffs) out in the papers two weeks ago, you're going to have that. My concern is we haven't even seen a preliminary budget yet. I just didn't like the timing."

Schneiger said he has tried to be transparent with the public and communicate the difficult financial problems the city faces. But he said officials are still determining when or where the job cuts will be made, and how much money the city needs to save.

So with so much still up in the air, Schneiger said his email was an effort to stem any speculation about layoffs until the preliminary budget is completed.

"It's just premature right now for our department heads to be talking about it with employees. It's just not appropriate to get people worked up," he said.

Before the proposed budget goes to the council this month, Schneiger said, city employees will be informed whether their position had been recommended for funding.

"They will be our recommendations, but in the end it will be up to the council," he said.

City manager silences talk of layoffs in New Port Richey 06/20/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 8:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Forecast: Remnants of tropical wave continues to bring rain through the weekend


    After relatively dry weather through the first half of the workweek, the tropical wave remnants continue to bring an increased threat for showers and storms across the state and Tampa Bay.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast
  2. Harvey regains tropical storm strength in Gulf of Mexico


    MIAMI (AP) — Harvey regained tropical storm strength as it drifted in the Gulf of Mexico toward Texas early Thursday and forecasters said it could become a hurricane.

    Leo Sermiento, left, and Emilio Gutierrez, right, fill sandbags in preparation of a tropical system on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017, on South Padre Island, Texas. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered the State Operations Center to elevate its readiness level and is making state resources available for preparation and possible rescue and recovery actions amid forecasts a tropical storm will make landfall along the Texas Gulf Coast.
  3. Largest Powerball jackpot won by single ticket in Massachusetts


    DES MOINES, Iowa - Powerball Product Group Chair Charlie McIntyre says the $758.7 million jackpot claimed by a ticket sold in Massachusetts is the largest grand prize won by a single lottery ticket in U.S. history.

    A Powerball lottery sign displays the lottery prizes at a convenience store Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017, in Northbrook, Ill. Lottery officials said the grand prize for Wednesday night's drawing has reached $700 million, the second -largest on record for any U.S. lottery game.
  4. Florida education news: Computer coding, guidance counseling, career planning and more


    SESSION STARTERS: State Sen. Jeff Brandes refiles legislation to allow Florida high school students to swap computer coding for foreign language credits.

  5. Rays morning after: Offense showing some life