Mayor Daley today ordered a "partial shutdown" of city government for three days this year and three more days in 2009 to help solve Chicago's worst budget crisis in a generation," Fran Spielman reports in the Sun-Times.
City government will be closed for business on the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, saving $19.8 million for the two years.
The only city employees scheduled to work those traditionally high-absenteeism days will be police officers, firefighters, 911 center employees and a skeletal crew in departments like Streets and Sanitation, Water, Aviation and Family Services.
If Chicago is hit by a snowstorm or some other disaster on any of those days, city employees will be called back in.
Though one union leader told the Tribune that he didn't believe there was anything the unions can do to prevent the shutdown, the head of a major city employee's union took public issue with Daley's plan.
"They can't just tell people, 'Don't come to work today,'" Henry Bayer, regional head of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, told Greg Hinz in Crain's Chicago Business. "You're already having complaints from people about diminution of city services," he said. "This will just cut them more."
Watch a report on the shutdown plan (Excerpts from Daley's press conference begin around 40 seconds in):