HUTTO, Texas (KXAN) — On Thursday, in a video on the City of Hutto’s Facebook page, Hutto Mayor Doug Gaul apologized to the 48 city employees who were laid off earlier this week — and said he takes full responsibility for them.
The layoffs came about as a result of strains due to the current coronavirus pandemic.
In the video, Gaul says:
“As your Mayor, I take full responsibility for that decision [layoffs]. With closer oversight, we could have lessened the severity of our economic situation. These decisions were made on my watch and I am genuinely sorry for the impact they have had on the individuals, their families and the community.”
Gaul outlined a few things that are being done to address the city’s current situation, announcing that he was foregoing his monthly stipend — a move he then asked Hutto council members to join him in.
Another step being taken, according to Gaul, is a reduction in executive staff salaries.
The Mayor said that the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak exposed shortcomings in the city’s operations and that going forward, lines of communication will be more open and the city’s manager will be “in line with the goals and values of Hutto.”
Some of the layoffs included entire city departments.
Sharon Parker, a former City of Hutto event planner, told KXAN’s Kaitlyn Karmout that the city called a meeting to explain it was in a financial crisis, and wouldn’t survive until the end of the year at its current rate. The layoffs followed.
But Parker questioned to KXAN whether COVID-19 was the true main cause, saying: ““All of our surrounding cities — this is happening to them. Why is it happening just in Hutto?”
On Thursday, Gaul ended his video to Hutto citizens, saying:
“Together we are HuttoStrong. We will come through the storm and come out stronger on the other side.”