Chicago Traffic Control Layoffs: City Axes Aides To Save City An Estimated $2.3 Million
Pink slips were reportedly delivered Friday to 97 full-time city-employed traffic control aides who keep an eye on busy intersections in the Loop and at Chicago airports, WLS reports.
The layoffs, which will go into effect August 15, were originally announced as part of the $75 million in savings Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced upon taking office in May and continue his quest to drastically cut the city's spending as it faces a projected $653.7 million shortfall. Now, Emanuel said, is a "moment of truth" for Chicago, as the mayor stands on the verge of some difficult budgetary decisions amid an increasingly tense relationship with city employee unions.
The approximately 80 traffic aides that remain, many more of them working part-time than was previously the case, will now be dispatched strategically to hot traffic spots instead of blanket coverage of the city's downtown area during rush hour periods, according to the Chicago Tribune. As for the parking enforcement work the aides previously did, Revenue Department workers will now be taking over those duties.
As the full-time traffic aides make an average salary of about $44,500 annually, the city hopes to save $2.3 million between the layoffs and improved collection of parking fines, the Tribune reports. The layoffs will reportedly not impact the number of part-time workers called in by the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications to aid with traffic congestion around construction sites and special events.