Dear City Staff,
I continue to be grateful for the amazing work you are doing during this unprecedented time. City staff have met daily challenges during this crisis with grace and determination. I appreciate all of your efforts.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has made a significant impact on global, national, regional, and local economies. Many renowned economists have acknowledged an economic downturn and forecasted that a recession is inevitable. The City of Oakland will not escape this downturn.
This sudden and widespread impact has had our leadership team working very hard to strategize, develop, and vet viable options that are responsible, effective, fair, and equitable, while also being in alignment with our City’s values to address the needs of our employees and residents.
In light of the current and foreseeable fiscal challenges that the City is facing, I want to share three key things that we are doing to support staff:
- Despite the immediate financial challenges, the City has extended Paid Administrative Leave for an additional pay period, ending on May 1, 2020 for certain eligible employees. With this extension, these employees will be on paid administrative leave for a total of seven weeks. The attached FAQ has been revised and contains important information regarding your right to additional time off, including Emergency Paid Sick Leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Please review this document carefully and contact your supervisor/manager or Departmental HR Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for clarification and additional questions. Revised COVID-19 Employee FAQs as of April 17, 2020. I understand this document is long and may seem daunting; however it is imperative that all employees read through all FAQs thoroughly, as there is key and critical information pertaining to safety and leave benefits that may impact your pay and benefits moving forward.
NOTE: Friday afternoon the Alameda County Public Health Department issued new guidelines around wearing facial coverings in public. This information is being reviewed and will be added to updated FAQs to employees on Monday, April 20.
- Departments have identified opportunities to bring more staff back who perform essential government functions in compliance with the City’s safety protocols, in addition to exploring opportunities for Disaster Service Workers (DSW). Next week, more detail will be provided along with a separate DSW FAQ.
- Our Third Quarter Revenue and Expenditure Results and updated Fiscal Year 2020-21 revenue forecasts impacted by the COVID-19 crisis will be presented to City Council for review next week Tuesday, April 21, 2020. As we look at the next fiscal year, we are sobered by the fact that due to the heavy financial hit that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented, there will be many hard decisions facing us. We are anticipating that the gap will be so great that the approaches we have used in the recent past to balance the budget will not be sufficient to address the situation. We continue to explore a variety of other ways to bring our budget into balance. The budget report for City Council consideration can be read here.
As stated, some of the steps that the City will ultimately have to take will be uncomfortable and in some instances challenging. Rest assured that the leadership team is working very hard to develop solutions that are the most equitable, transparent and thoughtful of all City of Oakland employees.
As has been noted, this continues to be an intense and challenging time for our beloved City, our region, our nation, and our world. I thank you for your dedication. I thank you for your diligence. I thank you for your commitment to serving the City of Oakland.
Stay safe, stay well, and stay in touch.