Town Manager Austin Faison announces temporary staffing changes affecting 10 town employees as a result of the building closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two staff members from the Council on Aging and eight library employees will be temporarily furloughed while the buildings remain closed to the public until further notice as a preventative measure against the spread of COVID-19. These positions are not being eliminated and, in most cases, the affected employees had not been able to go to work since the early spring due to the closure of the buildings they work in.
The town will continue to pay the affected employees until their furloughs become effective on July 1. They will immediately be eligible for unemployment compensation, including the extra federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits.
These staffing changes are temporary and the impacted employees will be guaranteed the opportunity to resume their roles if and when circumstances allow them to safely fulfill their responsibilities.
Other budget changes, including these temporary staffing changes, are being made to ensure the short term stability and long term sustainability of the town finances after a spike in the unanticipated costs associated with the pandemic. Other adjustments to the town’s budget include delaying the filling of open positions in various Town departments, reducing spending on office supplies, conferences and vehicle maintenance, and implementing savings from the latest projections for health insurance needs.
“These decisions are ones that we did not make lightly and that were discussed with all the parties involved,” Town Manager Faison said. “However, we are not immune to the financial ramifications of this pandemic and the effects of the last few months have caused us to reconsider and adapt various parts of the town’s budget. However, it’s important to note that these changes are temporary, that the services of these departments will continue to function in their modified capacity and that we fully intend to bring the individuals impacted back on once the situation surrounding COVID-19 steadies. This has been an unprecedented time not just for Winthrop, but for communities across the nation and globe. We will be continuously monitoring the situation and have made it a priority to bring these employees back on board as soon as we can."
Both the Council on Aging and the Winthrop Public Library and Museum will continue to operate in their limited capacity until the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic allows for full services to safely be restored.
Residents are still able to utilize the online library services, which can be found on the library’s website here.
The Council on Aging building remains closed to the public until further notice. Meals on Wheels will continues to operate, and residents who are in need and are not currently on the list to receive meals through the program can email [email protected] or call (617) 539-5848, with their name, phone number and address in order to be included in the program.