The City of Durham is facing a revenue shortfall falling deeper all the time. So, the other day, city councilman Eugene Brown sent City Hall a memo to suggest cancelling the annual Employee Recognition Luncheon to save some money.
About $45,000, he figured, counting food, gifts, space rental and lost productivity.
"The response I got from downtown, to Durham taxpayers, is: 'Let them eat cake,' " Brown said today.
Not to appear ungrateful, Brown had also suggested each honored employee (there are 218 this year, he said) get $100 cash. They would, however, have to attend a City Council meeting to get it.
City Manager Tom Bonfield said Wednesday afternoon he had not talked with Brown about the lunch, but contracts for the event have probably been signed for a long time already, he said. So at this point, it appears the affair — institution of more than two decades' standing — will go on as usual Feb. 10.
"It's tough to change government," Brown said.