Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010 | 5:42 p.m.
The Las Vegas City Council approved Wednesday an 8 percent cut to the salaries and benefits of its so-called executive and appointive employees — those who are not represented by a union.
The cuts, which will take effect July 1, appear to hold an implicit message to the city's unions — take a similar cut or layoffs are on the way.
City Manager Betsy Fretwell told the council that she has asked all unions representing Las Vegas employees to consider an identical 8 percent cut. The request is an effort to "stave off massive layoffs," the city said in a news release.
The cuts to executive and appointive employees will save $3 million, according to the city.
Because of falling tax revenue, the city expects a shortfall of more than $400 million over the next five years.
“These employees are trying to set an example for the entire city, and their efforts should be applauded,” Mayor Oscar Goodman said. “The bottom line is the only alternative to resolving this by agreement is by reducing our employee workforce and we certainly don’t want to do that and we’re doing everything in our power to secure the positions of those who have been so loyal to us over the years."
The cuts to salaries will be carried out through furloughs and wage roll-backs.
The employees will also forego the city’s match to their 401a employee retirement program, contribution to the Public Employees Retirement System and nine administrative and merit days off.
Las Vegas isn't alone in its struggles to balance its budget. With the recession holding down tax revenue, Nevada government officials are confronting grim options -- cut services or cut payroll. The Clark County Commission on Tuesday discussed possible pay cuts for some of its union employees.
Las Vegas has 115 executive employees, who oversee its 17 departments, and 83 appointive employees, who serve as professional and support staff.