ELYRIA, OH – The Whitfield Administration has released the next phase of operational adjustments for City departments and services in preparation for the anticipated income tax revenue loss as a result of COVID.
“We understand the gravity of these unprecedented times, and recognize that we cannot continue to do business as usual as we prepare to face a deficit greater than that experienced by the City throughout the Great Recession,” said Mayor Frank Whitfield. “It’s forcing us to make extremely challenging decisions, and grapple with the fact that moving forward as a community is going to look differently than we anticipated at
the beginning of the year.”
As an initial step, the City is suspending Parks & Recreation services, citing the uncertainty of recreation as we-know-it as communities continue coronavirus response and distancing measures.
“As we continue to deal with COVID-19, my office will be engaging with the community to better understand what we want the future of the City’s parks and recreational programming to look like in a post-COVID-19 world.” said Mayor Whitfield.
The administration also announced the restructuring of the Cemetery Department. “For both departments, instead of removing our entire laborer staff, we made the tough decision to layoff supervisors, and will be absorbing the supervisory functions within the Office of the Mayor and Safety Service Director,” said Safety Service Director Derek Feuerstein.
These adjustments go into effect Friday, May 1, 2020.
The City is working with respective unions to ensure laborers are relocated to departments where their skillsets align, while also providing increased productivity.
“We appreciate the administration’s value on labor, and understand that these are uniquely trying times. We’re looking to support the City in finding appropriate solutions that ensure the security and success of our union members with respect to the times.” said Chris Parker, AFSCME 277 President Mayor Whitfield acknowledged that this is the first phase of a broader reorganization effort, and said “I continue to have hope that the federal government could step in and provide the necessary funding to cities like ours, but we aren’t holding our breath. We are making the necessary steps to keep our City safe and clean while we work to rebuild our economy.”
At a press conference on Monday, April 20, Mayor Frank Whitfield announced that the Office of the Mayor, Office of the Safety Service Director, Finance Director, Law Director, and representatives from City Council had been discussing an April 15 letter from the Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA) detailing municipal income revenue deficits, the delay of income tax collections generated from businesses and individual taxpayers, and the closure of non-essential businesses, all due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).