As I read your story about the city of Toledo’s finances since 1982, I noted a significant omission (“Tough choices saved Toledo from fiscal crisis; City officials say declaring bankruptcy never an option,” July 28).
I served as a city councilman in the early 1980s, and as mayor in the 1990s and from 2006 to 2009. During the 1980s, and then in the first decade of the 21st century, Toledo city employees were frequently unselfish when revenues from tax collections were less than anticipated. Former city managers Mike Porter and David Boston sought sacrifices from city workers and received them in the 1980s.
In 2008 and 2009, when the dramatic downfalls in the auto, housing, and banking industries almost ignited a second depression in this nation, my chief of staff, Bob Reinbolt, and I sought major adjustments to the wage packages of our municipal employees.
Locals 7 and 2058 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees not only froze their wages, but also accepted furloughs of many employees, reducing their work week from 40 to 36 hours. All overtime was eliminated, except for police and fire emergencies.
Executive employees took a 10 to 20 percent cut in wages. Those same employees mowed city parks on the weekends, receiving no compensation.
Forty to 50 civilian employees lost their jobs. I was forced to lay off 75 city police officers — a step I hated to take. But then-police chief Mike Navarre and his remaining officers worked diligently to protect our citizens until we could bring the 75 officers back, which we did.
As mayor, I contributed more than a third of my salary to help pay city bills.
The sacrifices that have taken place to avoid the situation that Detroit finds itself in have been made by Toledo municipal employees. Without those employees helping as they did, our plight would have been even more challenging.
I thank each of them for assisting their city when help was needed.