Wearing placards declaring themselves "at risk," dozens of city union members delivered hundreds of postcards to Mayor Mike McGinn at his office this afternoon. (I wrote about the planned action this morning). The message of the postcards: Instead of eliminating cost-of-living wage increases next year, the city should cut strategic advisor and management positions and cut spending on outside contractors. The unions want the city to preserve a 2 percent cost-of-living increase next year.

Noting that some departments are being asked to take cuts of as much as 15 percent, McGinn said the budget cuts that will be necessary next year aren't an "either/or. We're looking at, 'all of the above.'" Although senior staff only make up nine percent of the city's workforce, McGinn said, they have made up 35 percent of the cuts so far. Additionally, McGinn noted that the national Consumer Price Index only increased 0.1 percent next year. "I realize the two percent raise is important, [but] that's $6 million" that would have to come from somewhere else.

Most of the workers in the mayor's office today were from the Seattle Department of Transportation, City Light, and the Department of Planning and Development. DPD has been especially hard hit by the recession, because it relies heavily on permit fees to fund its budget. Since 2007, DPD permit volumes have dropped by 30 percent, and values (which drive revenues) have dropped by 50 percent. As a result, DPD has cut 152 positions since 2009, including four senior-level positions--- a total of nearly a third of all full-time positions.

McGinn has proposed requiring DPD employees to take 29 unpaid furlough days in 2011, which the unions also oppose.
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