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FDNY EMS faces budget cuts in mayor’s response to migrant crisis

Mayor Eric Adams has announced a 5% budget reduction and directed uniformed agencies to reduce overtime costs


Mayor Eric Adams is pictured during press conference at NYPD Headquarters Monday Sept. 5, 2023.

Luiz C. Ribeiro/New York Daily News/TNS

By Michael Gartland
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — More details have emerged about the new round of budget cuts Mayor Eric Adams announced over the weekend — with a hiring freeze, overtime reductions and the suspension of temporary city contracts appearing to be almost certain in the months ahead.

The austerity measures will include a 5% mandated reduction to all city agency budgets in the the city’s November budget modification, as well as likely 5% reductions in both January and April, which would bring the total projected cuts to 15% if those additional Programs to Eliminate the Gap, or PEGs as they’re known, are implemented.

The new mandate comes less than a week after Adams predicted the migrant crisis would “destroy” New York City and as he continues to call on President Biden and Gov. Hochul for additional relief.

In a Sept. 9 letter sent out to city agency heads, Adams’ budget director, Jacques Jiha laid out the new plan.

“The amount of aid we have received from the federal government and the state has been grossly inadequate and there has been no progress on a statewide or national decompression strategy,” he wrote. “The city can no longer continue to shoulder these skyrocketing costs and balance the budget without making very difficult choices.”

The letter, which was first reported by Politico and confirmed by the Daily News, notes that as of Oct. 1 the city will implement a “full hiring freeze … until further notice, with exceptions only for those critical positions that support public health, public safety, and revenue generation.”

According to Jiha, the mayor will also issue an order directing uniformed agencies — which include the NYPD, FDNY, Department of Correction and the Sanitation Department — to submit plans to reduce overtime costs.

“Each uniformed agency head will identify a deputy commissioner (or equivalent) who is responsible for compliance with keeping overtime spending targets,” Jiha wrote.

Jiha’s letter, however, does not outline specific cost reduction goals for those agencies.

The primary thrust of the new directive lies with the PEGs, though.

The cuts to November’s budget modification are set in stone, according to Jiha’s letter, but while those proposed for January and April are likely, they are not yet spelled out as requirements. And even if they are implemented, Jiha maintained in his letter that they would not fully cover the expanding costs of the migrant crisis.

“The cumulative impact of these three PEG exercises will only cover two-thirds of our projected asylum secker costs,” he wrote.

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