ITHACA, N.Y. –– The City of Ithaca announced on Tuesday a hiring freeze for all city positions until further notice –– which means halting the search for a new Director of Sustainability and putting a hold on all Green New Deal projects.

“Due to the COVID-19 epidemic and its effect on City of Ithaca finances, the city has announced a hiring freeze until further notice. We had planned to have a new Director of Sustainability start work in early May, but the hire and start date have been postponed,” the city said in a statement.

In January, the City of Ithaca listed a full-time administrative position for ‘Director of Sustainability’ in order to facilitate goals set forth by the city’s Green New Deal. The GND set goals for the city to be carbon neutral by 2030, with emissions from the city’s vehicle fleet reduced by 50% by 2025 and 100% of government operations using renewable electricity by 2030.

Part of the Sustainability Director job was to create a GND Action Plan immediately following their hire. At the end of December, the city announced funding through a state grant for $100,000 from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation’s Climate Smart Communities program, plus another $100,000 designated by the city, for the development of the GND Action Plan.

The plan was intended to “detail how to achieve an equitable transition to carbon-neutrality and meet the other goals of the Ithaca Green New Deal,” according to the city.

It is unclear when hiring will begin again, or when the GND Action Plan will be back on the table.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com