B’ham City Council approves plan to bring back furloughed employees

Birmingham bringing back furloughed employees

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday afternoon in favor of a plan to bring back all city employees furloughed earlier this year.

In a special called meeting Monday, the city of Birmingham committee of the whole allocated millions of dollars in federal COVID-19 relief funds to reactivating 132 full-time furloughed city employees.

Council President William Parker said Monday night that there was an overall consensus that the item would be approved by the council.

“It’s an appropriation of $4.5 million that the council will vote on which will bring back 132 full-time employees back,” Parker explained.

The money is coming from the CARES Act and won’t take away from other city services, according to councilman John Hilliard.

All of this unfolding just before employee health coverages were to expire on Dec. 4, a move councilman Hilliard said he was proud of.

“... and do the right thing. We have a holiday coming up and people need to be back at work. They don’t need to lose their health insurance. So, I’m excited that we as a council and the Mayor’s office have been able to work together to make sure this happens,” Hilliard said.

However, Parker said more needed to be done to settle the matter.

The current reopening plan submitted by the Library board only calls for half of 18 library locations to reopen.

Parker said he wanted all locations opened even if it was on a modified schedule.

It’s a contingency Parker said the council would use all of their power to make happen as three board members’ appointments were set to expire with the year.

“[We want to] find solutions to make sure one, we’re able to take care of our employees, but also to make sure we have services for our residence in all at 99 neighborhoods,” Parker said.

The next step is to consider Mayor Woodfin’s suggestion to offer holiday pay to the furloughed employees and consider options for part-time employees.

Parker said the council would work diligently to discover more funding.

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