Ward Room
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Emanuel To Order 90-Day Hiring Freeze in New Budget

City has $338 million budget shortfall in 2014 budget

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Emanuel To Order 90-Day Hiring Freeze

NBCChicago.com

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he plans to announce a 90-day hiring freeze on non-critical personnel when Chicago's 2014 budget is unveiled later this month.

The hiring freeze, set to start Jan. 1, will save $1 million.

"In the first two years, that added up to about 1,500 employees or positions, and we'll continue to do that to bring reforms," Emanuel said Wednesday.

The city also plans to eliminate 20 already vacant jobs to save $500,000. But that's all a drop in the bucket when one takes into account the city's $338 million budget shortfall.

Who exactly the hiring freeze will affect remained unclear Thursday but public safety employees, such as police officers and firefighters, won't be impacted.

"The last two budgets should give you guidance to my third budget," said Emanuel. "We will constantly ask every department, 'Are you doing what you're doing? Is there a better way to do it? Is it essential? Is that core to your mission?' If there's a better way to do it, how do we do it and bring reform?"

The budget is set to be released Oct. 23.

Last month Standard & Poor’s Rating Services revised its outlook on Chicago’s A-plus general obligation rating to negative, citing the city’s pension crisis.

"The outlook change reflects our view of the risks involved in how the city will address its upcoming, large pension payments," Standard & Poor's credit analyst Helen Samuelson said in a statement.

In July, Moody's Investors Service downgraded the city's debt rating from Aa3 to A3 also naming the city's "very large and growing" pension liability.

Like Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s cited Chicago’s $19.4 billion pension crisis, the city’s “reluctance to adjust taxes,” and mounting debt.

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