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At Dallas City Hall, Waiting for Layoffs in Arts, Libraries, More

by Anne Bothwell 6 Aug 2010 3:41 PM

City employees, including those in the Office of Cultural Affairs and the libraries, have been waiting today for layoff notices. KERA’s BJ Austin reports.


Nearly 500 layoff notices are going to Dallas city employees today. This morning, KERA’s BJ Austin reported the reductions are part of the plan to close a 130 million dollar budget gap. We’ll post updates as they come…

The RIF, or reduction in force, letters are going to about 450 employees, according to city officials. City Manager Mary Suhm previously announced that 500 jobs would have to go to help balance the budget.

KERA radio report:


Christopher Head has worked for the Cultural Affairs Department for 12 years. He says funding for his department reportedly will be cut 45%, and that has to mean layoffs.

Head:  I, along with a lot of other folks have been able to be putting together contingency plans for when we do lose our jobs. One of the things I am doing is going back to school.

Head is working on a “technical theatre” degree. He’s currently a lighting and sound technician at the Meyerson Symphony Center.

More than 150 people working for the Dallas Library are expected to get the letter. Retrieving materials from the outside “return box”, an employee of the downtown library admits he’s bracing for a RIF letter. He says he’s trying not to make it “personal.”

Employee:  It’s a part of life. It’s a sign of the times. You know everybody’s doing it these days. You just got to be prepared.

The book-shelver preferred to remain anonymous.

Across the street at City Hall, in the Civil Service Office, Pat Marsolais says the city will do all it can for those who are laid off.

Marsolais: … training sessions and general assembly sessions to talk to people about the RIF, and explain it to them and answer their questions. There will be resume writing classes, and sessions where they can learn how to market themselves better.

The last day on the job for those who get the “letter” is September 30th. Marsolais says it’s a stressful and sad time. Council member Jerry Allen calls it “painful”.

Allen: One of the proud things since I’ve been on City Council is seeing the staff and seeing how hard working the staff is.  And to know that some of them are going to have to be let go, it’s gut wrenching.

Last year, to close an even bigger budget gap, Dallas sent RIF letters to more than 800 employees.