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A week ago, Louisville Metro Council President Jim King (D-10) sent a memo to the other 25 council members, suggesting that the participate Mayor Greg Fischer’s voluntary weeklong furlough program.  “I committed to encourage 100% participation among council members immediately following the Mayor’s Budget presentation,” said King. “I would like to get a sense from all members as to their participation and the participation of their aides and staff. So, I will be contacting each office”

Mayor Fischer is proposing a voluntary weeklong furlough for Metro Government employees making under $70,000. Those making over $70,000 will be required to take a furlough.

To date, six members of the council—all Democrats—have indicated they will participate in the week long voluntary furlough program:

David James (D-6), who said, “The reality of our current budget situation is that everyone must sacrifice in order to avoid mass layoffs of city workers or a further reduction in services. For those of us in a position of leadership, it only seems appropriate to step forward and take some initiative. I strongly support Mayor Fischer’s decision to make this voluntary for most of Metro Government’s employees. My legislative aid and I committed to the week-long furlough as a way to share in our part of the fiscal responsibility and I am confident that many other Metro employees will do the same.”

Vicki Aubrey Welch (D-13).  “With families throughout our entire community tightening their belts, all of us in the District 13 office will voluntarily take part in Mayor Fischer’s furlough program,” said Welch. “My constituents should know that even though I will not be paid for it, I will still be working for them. Shared sacrifice of this kind allows us to work together to lessen our burdens and increase our successes. District 13 is proud to be part of the solution to bring our city out of the recession with fiscal responsibility,”

David Yates (D-25).  “As families tighten their belts all across Southwest Louisville, I will take part in Mayor Fischer’s Voluntary week long furlough program,” said Yates. “The residents of District 25 should know that even though I will not be paid for it, I will still be working for them. Shared sacrifice of this kind helps ease budget concerns and helps us keep from any massive layoffs and cuts in services.”

Barbara Shanklin (D-2).   “I feel by making this effort, Metro Louisville is avoiding layoffs in city government,” said Shanklin. “We have many employees who are faced with economic challenges and they need their jobs like everyone else. I appreciate the President’s effort to show everyone the Council’s willingness to lead and share in the tough choices to keep the city moving forward.”

Rick Blackwell (D-12).  “Without question, we in Metro Government should let the people we serve know, we can tighten our belts too,” said Blackwell. “Until better financial times come along, it’s important that we all work together to keep communities safe and maintain essential services. I commend the Mayor for a realistic approach to using furloughs. Making it voluntary is a much easier way to encourage involvement,”

Tina Ward-Pugh (D-9), who said, “As citizens ourselves, all of us in the 9th District office will join the rest of our community in sharing the responsibility for closing the gap in our upcoming budget. Our shared efforts will ensure that essential services continue to be available as we continue our shared journey back to a more stable economy. I know it is a tough decision for some, but if it helps erase the need to cut services or lay off employees it is an easy decision for me without question,”

More than just a symbolic gesture, the voluntary week-long furlough will cost each council member $817.00.  If President King gets the full participation he requests, this will save the Metro taxpayers about 21 grand. 

No word yet from Metro Councilwoman Judy Green (D-1).

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About Thomas McAdam

At various times I have been a student, a soldier, a college Political Science teacher, a political campaign treasurer, and legal adviser to Louisville's Police Department and Board of Aldermen. I now practice law and share my political opinions with anyone who will listen.

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