New Orleans mayor lays off half the staff at city hall

Public sector bodies in New Orleans are to lay off 3,000 people – almost half their workforce – after Hurricane Katrina left the city in financial turmoil.

Mayor Ray Nagin said it was “with great sadness” that New Orleans was “unable to hold on to some of our dedicated city workersî after a dramatic fall in the amount of business taxes collected.

“We’ve talked to local banks and other financial institutions, and we are just not able to put together the financing necessary to continue to maintain our city hall staffing at its current levels,” he said

The city aims to save $5m to $8m (£2.8m to £4.5m) on a current monthly payroll of $20m (£11.3m) following the layoffs, which will begin to take effect on Saturday.

Most of the jobs that will be lost will be in “nonessential” administrative positions, the mayor said.

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