Minneapolis reconsiders 5-year-old hiring freeze

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Minneapolis City Council members are mulling a thaw in the city's hiring freeze, which dates to 2008, MPR News reports.

The panel's Ways and Means Committee is expected to discuss the issue on Tuesday.

The freeze was accompanied by layoffs of dozens of employees and the elimination of 300 positions. It was implemented as the nation was plunging into a financial crisis and the city faced fiscal instability, especially as Local Government Aid from the state dried up and stock market losses put pressure on the city's ability to pay pensions.

"Every sector of the economy is feeling the impact of this financial crisis, and certainly government is not immune," Mayor R.T. Rybak said at the time.

But city officials say department managers have found cost savings in streamlined operations, and that the freeze is no longer necessary to keep Minneapolis finances stable, MPR reports. Here's a three-page summary document from the city on the freeze, including more detail on how many positions have been eliminated over the last few years.

Earlier this year, the city hired its first new firefighters in five years.

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