Town works to avoid layoffs

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While neighboring municipalities like Germantown recently announced the decision to temporarily lay off part-time employees, Collierville is hoping to avoid such measures. 

Last week, Town Administrator James Lewellyn told Board members that he has advised Collierville’s department heads to keep their budgets as flat as possible heading into the next fiscal year in an effort to avoid unnecessary expenditures.

This will help the town continue operations as normal. Public Information Officer Jennifer Casey said there is currently no plan at this time to lay off employees.

Germantown officials made the decision on Monday to temporarily lay off all of the city’s part-time workers. 

The announcement came in light of a “series of tough decisions made necessary by the COVID-19 crisis.” 

More than 200 city employees serving in part-time positions will be laid off on March 29.

“This has been one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make in my 31 years,” said City Administrator Patrick Lawton. “We value our employees and we understand that they are the ones who make Germantown a great place to live but we also have to balance our fiscal responsibility to our taxpayers. That being said, this is likely the first of many very difficult personnel decisions that we will have to make in the coming weeks.” 

The majority of the positions that will be eliminated include staff from the Germantown Athletic Club and the Parks and Recreation Department’s before and after school care program. 

Both were temporarily closed on March 16, along with the Germantown Performing Arts Center, the Germantown Community Library and The Great Hall and Conference Center. 

Of the 209 part-time employees affected by the decision, 189 were employed at the Athletic Club and Parks and Rec. These employees will receive full pay for March 16-29.

The layoffs come as the city’s budget and performance staff are projecting a significant reduction in revenue for the 2020 fiscal year. Much of the lost revenue will be the result of lost state shared revenues and sales tax.

Lawton said that the current pandemic is also expected to significantly impact the fiscal year 2021 budget.