Thursday, December 18, 2008

City big stirs a stink over raises for kid-care workers

Thursday, December 18th 2008, 6:13 AM

The city's child services boss defiantly threatened Wednesday to close day care centers if forced by the state to give raises to 28,000 home-based providers.

Responding to a threat by state officials to cut off child-care funding to the city by Dec. 31, the commissioner said the raises are unaffordable.

"I don't see that I should give increases to some when I'm going to have to take resources away from many," said Administration for Children's Services boss John Mattingly at a heated City Council hearing.

Mattingly said that if forced to comply, he would cut the wages of 15,000 informal child care providers and shut day care centers that serve low-income children.

The state's move, an attempt to force the city to comply with federal regulations, could endanger the care of more than 100,000 children and $475 million in state funding.

State Children and Family Services Commissioner William Gettman warned in a Dec. 8 letter that the city's failure to pass on $26.8 million in state funding for the raises was jeopardizing federal funding for the whole state.

Council Welfare Committee Chairman Bill de Blasio pressed Mattingly to explain why he was sitting on the money earmarked for workers, who average less than $20,000 a year.

"In a sense, that money is being held hostage," de Blasio said.

Mattingly said the city needed more than $50 million to comply and cited the agency's ballooning $62 million deficit to explain its inability to pay.

A United Federation of Teachers official said the union, which represents the workers, had been trying to get the city to pay the raises since October 2007.

"From the very day [the raise] was set, ACS has refused to pay it," said UFT Vice President Michael Mulgrew.

City big stirs a stink over raises for kid-care workers

My Two Cents- Cut into their share and look what happens!

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