Mayor Gordon suggesting workers go a day without pay

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New plan has many people talking

PHOENIX - In these tough economic times would you work for a day without pay?

How about if it would save a co-workers job?

That's what Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon is proposing all in an effort to cut $250 million from the budget.

The mayor has already said the city's looking at cutting 1200 positions.

Now there is a three-point plan which involves reducing city spending, generating new revenue, and continuing public works projects to create jobs.

One of the aspects to reducing city spending certainly has people talking.

That part of the plan asks city employees to go one day without pay every month.

And that's exactly what Mayor Phil Gordon and his staff have already agreed to do.

"No vacation time, no sick time, 12 days without pay and I'll be doingit as well," said Mayor Gordon.

He's asking every city department to make that request to its employees. That would be a total of 14 thousand people.

He'll talk to the city manager to convene a meeting with labor unions and ask them to voluntarily forego scheduled raises for one year.

"I didn't suggest to my staff or other city employees that they reduce their current payroll check, but rather not take next years raises, so that the check would remain the same in order to save positions so their employees would not potentially lose their job," he said.

It's an idea generating a lot of discussion.

"I think it's a responsible reaction by mayor," Rick Weare said. "Good proposal, he's taking initiative where the car makers are not."

And while the big three auto makers wait for an answer from the government, in regards to their bailout request the City of Phoenix is also waiting for a response to a letter to the Treasury Department.

"Not looking for a handout, but a hand up" the mayor calls it, to provide loans to Phoenix for immediate infrastructure investments.

Money that will allow us to continue growing and accelerate projects that would already be complete today had the economy not slowed down.

Here is the plan as laid out by the mayor:

Phoenix Work Projects Advancement (WPA) 1)Reducing city spending -Departments proposing 30% cuts for 2009-10, which total $250 million and 1,000 positions -Total cuts in the last five years $206 million and nearly 700 positions -City management studying department and service consolidation -Convene a management/union summit to consider deferral of raises for 2009-10, furloughs and other options 2) Generating new revenue -Citywide revenue task force will present recommendations to City Council Dec. 9 -Examples include advertising on bus shelters downtown and other city-owned facilities 3) Continuing and accelerating public works projects to create jobs -For every $100 million in projects, 1,500 jobs are created -City Council accelerated $39 million in city bond projects; and reaffirmed $3.3 billion in capital projects between now and 2010 -Partner with the state and federal government on loans and grants; Phoenix budget and finance directors on a conference call today with the 50 largest cities to create request-list for federal government -Airport alone has $250 million in projects that can be started soon -With continuation Dec. 17 of the existing passenger facility charge at the airport, 25,000 jobs will be created for projects such as expanding the automated train, tarmac rehabilitation at Terminal 4, airfield lighting and runway signage