Minneapolis Mayor Frey says layoff 'not on the table right now'

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Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS "layoffs of any kind are not on the table right now."

When asked if some city programs might face cuts due to a projected budget deficit that could reach $200 million, the mayor said, "The answer is probably yes."

Last week Frey sent a letter to all city employees and told them there was a wage and hiring freeze, and all non-essential spending on discretionary budget items was placed on hold because the city faces a projected budget deficit between $100 million and $200 million.

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"We are doing the right thing because it is all about saving lives right now," Frey said.  "Minneapolis will remain open and strong and we will come out of the COVID-19 pandemic stronger."

When asked if the city might face a workforce reduction, similar to one in 2010 when more than 100 employees were laid off, Frey said, "We are not anywhere near that point right now."

"The sacrifices we are making now are designed to prevent us from getting close to layoffs," Frey said. "It is important we do this now because hundreds of city jobs are on the line, and that is what we are going to protect."

Frey said budget projections have been hard to predict and things have been changing rapidly on a daily basis. But he hinted the budget deficit projections could grow.

"There is a chance the deficit projections could be larger," Frey said. "But everything is changing so rapidly it is hard to get a handle on how any of this is going to shake out."