Two weeks after unanimously rejecting a $20 million plan to repay District workers for furlough days they were forced to take last year, the D.C. Council is expected to approve a $22 million version of the proposal on Tuesday.
The centerpiece of a $64million supplemental budget from Mayor Vincent Gray, the furlough payment plan would convert four unpaid holidays in 2011 to paid days for tens of thousands of people who continue to work for the District government. The days had been scheduled as paid days until city leaders ordered the furloughs in a bid to close a $188 million budget shortfall.
“With the financial information we had at the time, last year’s decision to furlough employees appeared to be necessary,” Gray wrote in a letter to Council Chairman Kwame Brown. “The decision to conduct furloughs proved unnecessary. Accordingly, I believe restoring these furlough days from additional fiscal year 2012 revenue is the right thing to do.”Although Gray aides have touted the furlough payment plan to labor unions, which boosted the mayor during his 2010 campaign, Brown on Monday denied the payments were to enhance the standing of city leaders among rank-and-file members of a powerful political lobby.
“Everyone is getting their money back,” said Brown, who joined Gray in saying he wouldn’t accept payment for the furlough days he had to take.