• 52°

City freezes hiring

In preparation for a difficult budget process, City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn instituted a hiring freeze and asked city departments and other groups for help in reducing the budget.

“While our local economy has thus far been able to withstand the effects of the economic downturn, the state economy has been severely weakened,” Cuffee-Glenn wrote in a Feb. 11 letter to City Council members. “This is troubling for our city government as we rely on the Commonwealth of Virginia for over 41% of funding for citywide services.”

The city already has absorbed $3.2 million in state reductions in the current fiscal year, Cuffee-Glenn said.

“The City must take appropriate steps to prepare for these potential losses,” she wrote. “Therefore, I have directed my staff to immediately freeze any existing and future vacant positions subject to my approval of exceptions for extreme circumstances.”

The freeze will remain in effect “until a full assessment of the necessary measures to balance the upcoming budget can be determined,” Cuffee-Glenn added.

The city manager also instituted a hiring freeze last February for the remainder of that fiscal year.

Furthermore, each department, constitutional office, Suffolk Public Schools, locally supported state offices and partnering agencies has been asked to submit 5 percent and 10 percent reduction scenarios for consideration in the 2010-2011 budget.

“I remain hopeful and optimistic that the City of Suffolk can address its revenue challenges moving forward without resorting to extreme measures,” Cuffee-Glenn wrote.