Mayor calls for unpaid furloughs to ease budget crunch

Up to 4,175 non-union employees would be required to take two to three unpaid furlough days this year, as part of a cost-saving proposal announced today by Mayor Richard M. Daley.

"It's no secret that the city is expecting there to be a significant shortfall in the 2009 budget," said Wendy Abrams, spokesperson for the city's Department of Budget and Management.

Daley's resolution, submitted to the finance committee Tuesday, would save $3.3 million by requiring three unpaid days of managers making more than $75,000 annually and two unpaid days from those making less.

The furlough days would be scheduled between now and December 31 to prevent city services from being affected.

The city is still working with union employees to find a way to incorporate them in cost-saving measures, Abrams said.

Abrams said increased snow removal costs, higher fuel and energy costs and the downturn in the real estate market have contributed to the shortfall.

The city's preliminary 2009 budget must be submitted by July 31.

"Everything is on the table," Abrams said. "We are looking for ways to increase revenue and cut costs."

The Chicago City Council is expected to vote on the furlough resolution tomorrow.