Speaking on a WFPL News special program, Louisville Metro Council Budget Committee Chairwoman Marianne Butler, D-15, supported Mayor Greg Fischer’s proposal to consolidate the city’s business managers to save money, but hoped the decision could avoid laying off Metro employees.
The reorganization plan would save the city more than $1 million in the budget by cutting a quarter of its 81 business managers.
A month ago, WFPL State of Affairs host Julie Kredens asked Fischer about this cost-cutting measure specifically before his administration unveiled part of its plan to tackle a project $22 million shortfall in the city’s fiscal year 2011-12. The mayor indicated there could be some consolidation, but did not confirm those efforts.
Councilwoman Butler says the mayor’s plan follows a recommendation made by Kentucky Auditor Crit Luallen, who in previous audits suggested Metro Government centralize the positions in one agency.
“Two different audits mentioned that the business managers should be put together in finance as opposed to spread out among all these departments. And as a result of that not only are we going to be more efficient and have better oversight of this, but we’re going to save some money,” she says. “I’m hopeful that some of the people are eligible to retire and we don’t have the 20 layoffs.
Instead of their respective department, the remaining 61 business managers will report to the Office of Management and Budget to help manage of the city’s nearly $500 million operating budget.
Sources in Metro departments have voiced concern that the change could hurt customer services and stifle the financial needs of certain agencies, but the recent lapses in the city’s financial controls have put added pressure on city leaders to adopt tighter regulations.
The mayor’s office hasn’t announced whether anymore layoffs will be necessary to fill the shortfall. Fischer will submit his full budget proposal next month.