ROCKLAND, Maine — A somber city council voted unanimously Monday night to eliminate four positions and reduce two others to part time in order to offset the loss of revenue sharing.
“This is a somber moment. We are talking about people’s lives,” Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson said.
The council eliminated an emergency medical technician position, a library technician, and the public works department secretary post, putting those three people out of work. A vacant police department patrol officer position was also cut.
Two currently full-time positions — assistant to the city manager and general assistance administrator — are being reduced both to part time.
The cuts are effective immediately in order to offset the loss of $280,000 in municipal revenue sharing by the state.
The council agreed to spend $150,000 from surplus to pay for unemployment, accumulated vacation and unused sick time as well as other transitional costs incurred with the layoffs. This spending is a one-time payout, Councilor Larry Pritchett said.
Pritchett said the cuts should not be viewed by the employees or their department heads as an indictment of their performance.
Councilor Eric Hebert said she was angry at the state for putting the city in this position by cutting revenue sharing. He said some people had suggested using surplus to make up the difference this year but that this shortfall is likely to be an ongoing problem.
The council approved the overall 2013-2014 Rockland budget of $10.6 million at a meeting last June but acknowledged the board would have to meet again once the state budget was approved and the amount of reduce state revenue sharing was known.
Correction: An earlier version of this story failed to include the elimination of a library technician position.