The City of Wichita Housing and Community Services officials announced today that employees in the department will be furloughed on Friday, July 5 due to automatic federal budget cuts known as the sequester.
The automatic federal budget cuts, approved in 2011, require seven federal agencies to furlough employees including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which funds a majority of the local housing department. In addition to Friday’s closings, Wichita’s Housing and Community Services offices will close on 12 Fridays from July through December. The local department has 59 employees, all of which are federally funded. There are 88 positions authorized in the department but 29 are unfilled due to budget reductions.
“The furlough plan is the best of other options we considered, which included staff layoffs or across the board salary cuts,” said Mary K. Vaughn, Director of Housing and Community Services.
Employees who are not furloughed can request vacation or work from another City office on days when furloughs close housing offices. HUD is also furloughing workers and closing its federal offices on furlough days.
Vaughn said furloughs will help the department meet its annual budget and prepare for plans to reduce the size of the department and operate with declining federal funds. The furlough days are: July 5; July 19; Aug. 2; Aug. 16; Aug. 30; Sept. 13; Sept. 27; Oct. 11; Oct. 25; Nov. 8; Nov. 22; and Dec. 6.