During June and July, 97 full- and part-time City of East Lansing employees are working reduced hours, but with little impact on their income.
With Council’s support, the City announced on June 3 that it is enrolling these employees in the Work Share Program operated by the State of Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency. This program, which allows for reduction in hours of 30-60 percent, is federally funded by the CARES Act that Congress passed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
In normal times, the City would pay dollar-for-dollar into the State agency for unemployment benefits paid out to its employees. But the CARES Act provides short-term federal funding for this purpose.
This will save the City approximately $317,000 over four pay periods. City Manager George Lahanas told Council the monetary savings are one benefit but that another is having employees coming in less physical contact with each other.
City Finance Director Jill Feldpausch told the City Council that, under the Work Share Program, the City processes unemployment compensation for the affected group of employees so individual employees face less hassle and a shorter interruption in their income.
The City’s operations will be reduced as a result of these actions. The Police Department and District Court are seeing the biggest reduction in work hours as a result of this action.
The City reopened City Hall and the 54B District Court today, June 15. But one impact of the reduction in staff time is that both these institutions will now be closed to the public on Fridays.
The Finance Department provided this list of the number of employees who will work reduced hours. We are showing the list from the largest to the smallest number of affected employees by department. These counts do not distinguish between full- and part-time employees.
- Police – 25 (Admin 1, Defined benefit (DB) 5, Jail 8, PACE 8, Records 3)
- 54B District Court – 20
- Parks & Rec – 13
- Library – 10
- Planning, Building & Development – 9 (Building 2, Housing 3, Planning/Zoning 4)
- Finance – 6
- DPW – 3
- Parking – 3
- Seniors Programs – 3
- Communications – 2
- Art Festival – 1
- City Manager’s Office – 1
- Fire Department – 1
The City’s press release explains how people can now obtain services at City Hall. It also states that the East Lansing Library is expected to offer curb-side pick-up starting today, June 15, with other services opening thereafter.
The Library building, Hannah Community Center, and Prime Time Center are currently expected to open on July 13.
We reported earlier today that the City’s work on the housing study and form-based code is being put off indefinitely due at least in part to lowered staffing, and we reported last week that the Director of Planning asked the DDA to delay action on seeking independent counsel for a few days to allow remaining staff enough time to manage the development of a Request for Proposals on that issue.
The City of Lansing and Ingham County are also taking advantage of the Work Share Program to reduce their costs temporarily, recognizing that their revenues will be significantly reduced by multiple impacts of the COIVD-19 pandemic.