Surprise forced to issue more furloughs

29 regular positions halted during economic crisis

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The city of Surprise continues to battle falling revenues because of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in the furloughs of 29 regular full-time and part-time employees this week.

Deputy City Manager Diane Arthur said effective May 11 the new furloughs were added to the hundreds of part-time seasonal and part-time temporary positions that were furloughed at the end of March.

“Unfortunately, the financial impacts due to COVID-19, as well as the suspension of some non-essential city services during this time, resulted in the very tough decision to have to furlough some city staff,” Ms. Arthur said.

Among the new furloughs, the Parks and Recreation Department was hardest hit, with 11 full-time and eight part-time workers affected. Five full-time and one part-time worker were hit in Sports and Tourism Department, as were three full-timers in the Human Services and Community Vitality Department and one in the City Clerk’s office.

“We value the amazing service provided by our staff; however this difficult decision was made to cushion against expected revenue losses from the closure of many businesses from mid-March to mid-May, including a shortened spring training season,” Ms. Arthur said.

On March 31, the city furloughed 356 part-time seasonal and part-time temporary positions — all but 11 of them in the Parks and Recreation Department. Other furloughs then hit the city court (five furloughs), the City Manager’s Department (four) and HSCV (two).

“We will continue to monitor sales tax collections and other revenues in the coming months,” Ms. Arthur said. “When the budget allows for us to bring back some services that were suspended or reduced due to COVID-19, we will work to bring back our furloughed staff.”

The coronavirus has already cancelled several community festivals, including the annual July 4th celebration at Mark Coronado Park.

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