Gray Joins D.C. Employees in Furlough
(Afro) — Mayor Vincent Gray signed a waiver on Feb. 4, allowing him to be furloughed on various holidays throughout the year. Under the terms, Gray will join 32,000 other District government employees in forgoing pay during scheduled time off in an attempt to cut down on city costs. Gray’s move comes after the Feb. 1 approval of The Balanced Budget Holiday Furlough Emergency Act of 2011, which requires full and part time government employees to receive unpaid time off on four legal public holidays throughout the year. These holidays include: President’s Day, Emancipation Day, Memorial Day, and Independence Day. Furloughs can only be implemented when they are required for budgetary reasons and when written notice is given to the affected employee. Though the District’s Charter prevents the mayor’s salary from being affected, Gray’s signed waiver allows him to participate. Government officials expect to save over $19 million through this move. “Like other employees, I believe it is only fair that I too share the sacrifice,” Gray said in a statement. “It’s the right thing to do. In these challenging times, we all must be willing to share the burden and shoulder the responsibility when public interest demands it.” Furloughs, as a method of cutting costs, were first introduced by Gray in 2010 while he was chairman of the DC City Council. While the move affects a bevy of District government employees, some remain exempt, including police, fire and emergency personnel. Maudine Cooper, District resident and president of the Greater Washington Urban League, said she believes Gray’s decision to participate is exemplary.