Philly trying to preserve jobs as it makes cuts

December 25, 2008 1:01:31 PM PST
Nearly a year ago, Mayor Michael Nutter took office promising to add hundreds of police officers, scale back taxes and help more Philadelphians get college degrees. That was before the economy collapsed. Now, the Democrat won't be hiring 200 more police officers he promised or cutting back taxes as fast as he hoped. He's also getting an earful for closing down 11 libraries and 68 pools, and for plans to deactivate seven fire companies.

With the city facing a $1 billion deficit over the next five years, Nutter is scaling back programs across the board.

But one thing has emerged largely unscathed in this union stronghold: jobs. Fewer than 80 of the city's 23,000 workers are being laid off. That's a stark contrast to measures being proposed in other cash-strapped cities.

The city eliminated 1,500 seasonal jobs such as lifeguards, library aides and camp counselors, along with 550 contract workers and 580 unfilled positions. Overall, city officials say they've still reduced the payroll by about 2,800.

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