City of Cupertino furloughs dozens of staff

Photo courtesy of City of Cupertino Facebook page.Photo courtesy of City of Cupertino Facebook page.

Dozens of Cupertino city employees were furloughed yesterday, as the city faces a steep drop in revenues.

First announced by City Manager Deb Feng during last week’s Council meeting, the furloughs were effective Monday. It initially affects approximately 80 employees, mostly part-time staff who cannot work from home. The City did not have clear numbers yet on how many full-time employees their order might affect.

“As COVID-19 continues to impact our organization, and with the County’s Shelter-in-Place Order extended to May 3, the City made the tough choice of furloughing many part-time employees and reducing paid administrative leave hours for full-time staff who cannot telework,” said Brian Babcock, the City’s Communications Officer.

Babcock said that some employees had been on administrative leave for the last month, particularly those whose work required being in an office setting.

During her presentation to the Council on April 7, Feng noted the darkening fiscal picture that Cupertino faces.

“Overall, we have a reduction in revenues of 12 percent. What that means is about 11 million dollars,” Feng said.

She attributed that mostly to a loss of hotel occupancy taxes, down 38 percent, and the drop in fees and services paid to the city, which are down 27 percent. Feng said expenditures have been reduced by 20 percent to offset this loss.

“Now that might feel like an overkill based upon the 12% reduction in revenues,” Feng said.

She continued, “However, we felt this was probably judicious because we’ll take of that savings and help 2021 with it so that things don’t have to be so very severe in 2021.”

Major adjustments are likely to appear in the city work plan and a more clear picture of the city’s balance sheet is expected in advance of the new fiscal year kicking off July 1.