Deputy mayor Russ Wyatt is unlikely to find the $15 million in savings he is seeking by forcing non-essential civic workers to take one day off a week for the summer, but there's no harm in asking city managers to study the question.
A better idea would be to see how many employees would like an extra day off without pay throughout the year, although a large uptake might raise new questions about whether the city is overstaffed.
Still better, however, would be a commitment by city council to get tougher in contract negotiations. In 2011, for example, 4,600 CUPE members reached a four-year contract that provides a 6.9 per cent increase in wages and benefits over four years, beginning with zero in 2011. A 6.9 per cent increase in benefits and salaries is far above the increases received by most private-sector workers.
Even better would be a decision by council to reverse the $600,000 it awarded itself in fatter ward communication allowances, which would at least establish a minor moral example for others.