Mayor Vincent C. Gray will ask the D.C. Council to approve legislation that would repay city employees the wages they lost during furlough days last year, according to an e-mail the city administrator sent to representatives of labor unions.
Last year, hundreds of city employees were not paid for four holidays— President’s Day, Emancipation Day, Memorial Day and
Independence Day —as the mayor and council looked for ways to close a then-$188 million budget gap.
The furlough days saved the city an estimated $19.3 million. Police officers, firefighters and other personnel deemed essential were not affected. Employees in quasi-government agencies, such as DC Water, also were exempt.
In late January, Gray (D) and chief financial officer Natwar M. Gandhi announced a $240 million surplus, leading critics to question some of the 2011 cuts and cost-saving actions, like the furlough days.
City administrator Allen Y. Lew said in the e-mail to labor representatives that Gray will propose that a portion of “new projected revenue” be used to return the wages to employees.
“The mayor’s decision to submit this request to the Council is further evidence of his commitment to our employees, and their representatives, for their diligent efforts and shared sacrifice in difficult times and rewarding our employees for their diligent efforts when circumstances permit him to do so,” Lew wrote. “Provided that the Council approves Mayor Gray’s proposal, we anticipate that the repayment of funds recouped from the furlough days will be disbursed to your membership by the end of this calendar year.”