Employees accept 10-day City Hall closure

It’s official. City Hall will lock its doors an extra 10 days next year. The cost savings, according to the city, means fewer employees will be dragged on to the chopping block.

The story’s below.

City employees voted Tuesday night to accept a plan to close City Hall 10 extra days next year.

The unpaid furlough proposal developed by the city administration and endorsed by the City Council as a cost-cutting measure to help avoid layoffs.

The furlough will shut down City Hall for 10 nonconsecutive days in 2009.

The Bainbridge Island Police Department will not be affected by the furlough.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the union representing most city staff, approved the furlough by a vote of 77 percent, according to the city. Almost 80 union members participated in the decision, which required a participation minimum of 30 percent.

“I’m very pleased that the union has taken this step,” said City Administrator Mark Dombroski. “By helping us avoid layoffs, the furlough will enable us to preserve the expertise of our workforce during this economic downturn.”

The proposal will save an estimated $370,000 in 2009, equivalent to the payroll cost of four to six employees.

King County recently approved a similar proposal by a wide margin.

The city of Seattle and Snohomish County are also considering unpaid furloughs to offset declining revenues.

Union representatives said the Bainbridge furlough is a better choice than layoffs.

The city’s preliminary 2009 budget has called for the reduction of 12 full-time positions.

City Hall will be closed during the following furlough days in 2009: Friday, Jan. 2; Friday, Feb. 13; Friday, April 10; Friday, May 22; Friday, June 19; Thurs., July 2; Friday, Sept. 4; Monday, Oct. 12; Thursday, Dec. 24; and Thursday, Dec