D.C. City Council member Betty Anne Kane will formally propose legislation today that would authorize Mayor Marion Barry to order most city employes to take 14 days of unpaid leave by Sept. 30 to help solve the city's budget crisis.
Kane (D-At Large) said yesterday that the measure, modeled after legislation used by the federal government during the depression, would mean a loss of about $800 to the average city employe. "The average city employe makes $17,000. That's not poverty row," Kane said.
If enacted by April 1, she said, the bill could save the city $30 million and avoid the need for either passage of Barry's proposed $20.2 million tax package or the 5,000 layoffs that Barry says will be necessary if his tax plan is not approved.
She said 9,000 city school teachers, educational personnel at the University of the District of Columbia and some court employes would not be covered by the legislation. About 38,000 other workers would be. Those covered would include the mayor (whose annual salary is $64,210) and members of the City Council (whose salaries range from $32,00 to 47,00).
Kane said the savings would amount to deducting one day of unpaid leave during each two-week pay period. "All last week, the mayor was saying, 'You only have two choices. You have to raise taxes or fire 5,000 people.' I think this is an alternative," Kane said.