The City of Oakland will save *a little* money by closing its offices one day/month. We seem to be timid about asking city workers to feel the pain, though.
On the day before Thanksgiving, the City of Oakland will shut down all non-essential services. Our police and fire departments stay opened, along with Head Start and a few other places.
Last week, the Oakland Tribune confirmed these monthly closures through June, as well as regularly scheduled closures between Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
There are also cuts in police overtime, five percent reductions in base pay, and $430k savings from the Mayor’s Office. There’s no question all these actions will help, as every penny matters now.
However I’m an advocate for cutting back further. Start by looking at Silicon Valley as an example, where many engineers and knowledge workers toil away. These tech sector employees aren’t exactly landed gentry anymore.
Since the cold winter arrived last month, Silicon Valley managers and staffers have been laid off in droves while others have taken large cuts in take-home pay. Everything is slowing and cash must be conserved – and these businesses cannot operate with Oakland-like deficits.
With that in mind, it’s tough to say that Oakland has gone far enough. I’m unable to inspect city salaries, yet understand (but cannot verify) that we pay pretty well compared to other cities. Oakland is almost treating employment like an entitlement program.
City workers don’t seem to be giving up much, yet. With offices closed one day per month, these workers will sacrifice 1/30th of their pay. They should be able to keep their health and other benefits without problems.
So while I’m pleased that Oakland’s taking some steps to conserve, they could cut more deeply like their private industry counterparts. Is this simplistic? Do you agree?