Mayor Bell adamant on cutting mayor's staff

By Ashley Nix

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) – Mayor William Bell says he will cut employees from his staff.  Some are unfilled positions, but some people will lose their jobs.  Mayor Bell says the cuts are not just about dollars and cents.  

"In trying to correct past wrongs that were done as it relates to the city's finances," Bell said in an interview Tuesday.  Mayor Bell called past budgets "swollen by artificial numbers." It is something he has been trying to fix during his tenure as mayor.  "It is difficult because you don't want to see anybody without work," Bell said.  "But by the same token I've got to have a staff that's reflective of William Bell."

That means cuts for both filled and unfilled positions, and salary reductions.  Fourteen unfilled positions will be eliminated and additional filled positions will be gone as well.  Bell says it is to save money, but also for the good of his administration.  "It makes no sense for me, keeping people who I don't really know," Bell said.  "The mayor's office needs to reflect the mayor's office."

The cuts are a part of his proposed 2011 budget, which city councilors are still working on.  The number one goal is trying not to implement across the board temporary 10% pay cuts for every city employee.  "It's really just not a good situation to be in," Council President Roderick Royal said.  "And as a council we intend to address it."  

Royal says he feels the council is making headway, but he believes the employees will still be a part of the cuts, just not at 10%. "The issue between the mayor's proposal and what the council, I believe, will propose, is at what level should the employees have buy in."

The July 1 deadline is quickly approaching.  

Council will meet in another budget workshop Wednesday.     

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