Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio calls for pay freeze

TAMPA — Mayor Pam Iorio is asking the city's police, fire and general employee unions to forgo all pay raises next year.

And if she can't get that freeze, she said the city could have to look at cutting 240 positions.

"We are trying to produce a budget that doesn't adversely affect the citizens we serve," Iorio told City Council members Monday.

The city faced similar budget constraints the last two years, she said, but next year's financial outlook is even more grim.

As a result, she said, the city needs its 4,660 employees to sacrifice.

None of the union presidents returned calls for comment Monday, though Iorio said she had a "very cordial" meeting last week with all three.

"They said they would consider it," she said. "They were not negative. I think they recognize the position that we're in."

After last week's meeting, the president of the city's general employees union said "we can work with that" if Iorio's proposal means no employees would lose their jobs. The presidents of the fire and police unions made no commitments other than to consider Iorio's proposal.

The mayor said she needs the pay freeze to help close what otherwise would be a $52.2 million deficit in the city's 2009-10 fiscal year budget. That's bigger than the city's last two deficits put together.

That gap looms because property tax and sales tax revenues are each expected to drop at least 15 percent next year. Revenue from the state, city permits and the convention center also are expected to fall.

Meanwhile, the investments that make up the city's pension funds for general employees, fire and police have performed poorly. As a result, the city is required by law to put tens of millions of dollars more into the funds to ensure they can cover their obligations to retirees.

Iorio said the pay freeze would cover every city employee, including herself and her top administrators. City officials also plan to eliminate 73 vacant civilian positions, reduce spending on capital projects, cut overtime and use reserves to help close the budget gap.

But that would leave the reserves, or fund balances, at slightly less than the 20 percent of the budget that city officials deem prudent.

Since 2007, City Hall has eliminated 498 jobs, about 10 percent of its payroll. That would make finding additional jobs to cut difficult, since Iorio said police officers and firefighters would not be cut.

Iorio isn't the only top administrator in Hillsborough struggling to reduce costs. County Administrator Pat Bean recently said she might have to look at cutting 1,000 county jobs to close a $110 million budget deficit.

Iorio did not ask City Council members for an opinion on the pay freeze Monday because council members would have to arbitrate any impasse resulting from a failure to come to terms in upcoming contract negotiations.

Council member Mary Mulhern suggested she hopes it doesn't come to that, and almost any step, including using furloughs, would be better than laying off more employees.

Richard Danielson can be reached at or (813) 269-5311.

By the numbers

$52.2m Tampa's estimated budget shortfall

$110M Hillsborough County's estimated budget shortfall.

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio calls for pay freeze 04/06/09 [Last modified: Monday, April 6, 2009 10:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Once 'angry' about Obamacare, Republican David Jolly came to see it as 'safety net'


    Former Congressman David Jolly, who ran against Obamacare in 2013, said in an interview Monday night that he now considers it a "safety net."

  2. Five children hospitalized after chlorine release at Tampa pool store


    Five children were sickened at a pool store north of Tampa on Monday after a cloud of chlorine was released, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

  3. Deputies find unidentified decomposing body in Dunedin canal

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies found an unidentified male body floating in a Dunedin canal Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said.

  4. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  5. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108