Denver Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca, who is often at odds with Mayor Michael Hancock’s administration, is the only council member who isn’t planning to give eight days’ pay back to the city in solidarity with furloughed city workers.
Most employees must take eight unpaid days before the end of the year, the city announced this week. The furloughs are meant to save about $16 million amid an anticipated $226 million budget shortfall due to the impacrt of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
CdeBaca said in a statement that her decision is in part to protest that Denver’s legislative arm already runs on an “anemic” budget.
In addition, Mayor Michael Hancock’s proposed equal cuts across the board aren’t actually spread evenly, CdeBaca said. Instead, she proposed cuts for the most “bloated” departments and employees with the highest salaries.
“Rather than surrendering funds that will not make any difference to the Mayor’s excessive budget, I am keeping our limited resources in District 9, which has the highest concentration of homelessness and poverty in the city, in order to serve the more than 75,000 constituents here,” CdeBaca said. “My office will use what would be our furlough savings to continue giving back directly to those who need it most in our community.”
Hancock and his administration will also take eight furlough days or relinquish pay out alongside the rest of the city workforce facing the cuts.
“Mayor Hancock and those members of City Council choosing to join in the furlough days aren’t doing this as some symbolic gesture, they’re doing it because it’s simply the right thing to do during this economic crisis,” said city spokesperson Mike Strott. “At a time when we’re asking our city employees to make this sacrifice so that more drastic cuts aren’t made to the services that our residents need and depend on, it’s a funny form of protest to say you aren’t willing to do the same and stand beside them.”
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