Mayor Sylvester Turner addresses possibility of city worker furloughs

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- For those city employees wondering about possible furloughs, Mayor Sylvester Turner said it all depends on the upcoming approval of the city's budget.

During a briefing on Tuesday, Turner was asked to elaborate on the remarks made by Mayor Pro-Tem Dave Martin in which he said the city will likely furlough all of its employees except for the police and fire departments to make up for the expected $200 million budget shortfall.

Turner said "nothing will take place now until the end of June," and any changes will take effect on July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

"[It's] all subject to the budget being approved by city council, and then we will see whether or not between now and then, congress provides us with any additional flexibility on the dollars that have already been provided through the federal CARES Act, which could help to minimize those furloughs," said Turner.

Last month, Turner briefly spoke about the city's budget deficit due to COVID-19. He said Houston's deficit would be between $170 and $200 million, including a sales tax reduction of $100 million.

"It would be the worst deficit that the city has faced," Turner said. "This one will be worse than the city's deficit in 2016."

He also added that the city of Houston will not be able to use the U.S. Treasury Aid to fill the deficit, meaning thousands of employees will be furloughed with the new budget, and all five Houston Police Department cadet classes will also be deferred.

Many Houstonians in the area have either been laid off or furloughed, particularly those working in the oil and gas industry, due to the economic hardships brought on by the pandemic.

In early April, Schlumberger told ABC13 it will be instituting furlough programs, modifying work schedules, and will voluntarily cut executive salaries by 20 percent.

That announcement came after Halliburton announced at least 600 employees would be laid off in Texas and Oklahoma.

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Houston Schlumberger location furloughs employees and cuts executive salaries
Halliburton laying off at least 600 employees in Texas and Oklahoma

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