Hamtramck, Mich. Employees Facing Payless Paydays

REPORTER: It’s a really bad scene, Caroline. Today when firefighters and police got this memo they were absolutely shocked. It says the city is in dire financial straits and by the end of the month, it says the city will likely run out of money and not make payroll.

JON BONDRA: It’s very devastating to our police department, even the city of Hamtramck, all of the employees.

REPORTER: That’s Jon Bondra with Hamtramck’s police union, reacting to news that Hamtramck is almost broke. Action news attained this memo from the city manager, which says the city will not make payroll as early as this month. That means all city employees will likely go unpaid.

BONDRA: We’re a younger department, so we have little kids on the way, our wives, we have mortgages just like everyone. A payless payday is just going to hurt all around.

REPORTER: Bondra’s colleagues at the fire department were just as shocked when they saw the memo.

WILLIAM DIAMOND: It’s not just police and firefighters, it’s city hall workers. It goes down to everybody.

REPORTER: According to the city manager, Hamtramck is deep in the red because of the compounding economic storm. American Axle is closed which could cause Hamtramck a million dollars. Add to that soaring health care costs, plummeting property tax revenue and a host of other issues, and the city manager says that Hamtramck is practically out of money.

DIAMOND: Everyone has families, they’re trying to pay their bills, this is not the day and age when most families have big savings accounts. People are living paycheck to paycheck.

REPORTER: The city manager tells Action News an emergency manager takeover is a possibility, but he hopes it could be avoided.

BONDRA: If we do indeed go payless, that is the next step. An emergency manager would come in and try to fix the current situation and problem.

REPORTER: The city manager says that an emergency city manager takeover is not absolute, that he will still work with the state to avoid that. As for police and fire fighters, they say they will be on the job to serve the people of Hamtramck, whether or not they get paid.

Published under: Obama Economy