Mayor Asks City Workers to Sacrifice Some Income

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will kick off his so-called Keep LA Working tour Thursday to promote his plan to stave off deficit-induced layoffs by prevailing on city workers to sacrifice some of their income.

The mayor will tour Fire Station 84 in Woodland Hills, where he will meet with firefighters starting 2 p.m., according to his office.

Then, starting at 5 p.m., he will hold a town hall meeting in the Women's Pavilion at Providence Tarzana Hospital in Tarzana to discuss his draft budget and his plan to save jobs and maintain services.

Villaraigosa Monday released a draft $7.04 billion budget that relies on renegotiating employee contracts and privatizing municipal facilities and parking to eliminate a $530 million deficit as an alternative to laying off 2,800 workers.

Savings could be achieved if employees would work one unpaid hour a week, contribute an additional 2 percent to their retirement accounts and forgo scheduled pay raises. Those three ideas would preserve 2,580 positions,
according to the mayor.

The remainder of the deficit would be reduced by privatizing city parking lots -- and possibly meters, the convention center and zoo -- transferring $105 million between city accounts and increasing various fees to the tune of $4 million.

In an effort to lead by example, the mayor announced Monday he would take a 12 percent reduction in his $223,000 annual salary.

Villaraigosa met with Los Angeles Times editors and reporters Tuesday to discuss the budget and was asked if the city's work force is too big, too small or just right.

"Truthful answer, I don't know," he replied, according to a transcript posted on The Times' Web site. "I can't tell you that anybody's ever studied exactly how many employees we have versus what they do. I don't know that
anybody's ever done that."

In a scathing editorial today, The Times questioned the basis for the mayor's wish to avoid layoffs "if he doesn't know whether the city government is the right size."

The editorial noted that the mayor will be appearing in public meetings beginning Thursday to build support to for his alternative to job cuts. It added: "In order to deserve that support, Villaraigosa needs to present a coherent vision for where he intends to take Los Angeles, and an articulate defense of why this workforce is the one the city demands. If he cannot supply it, Villaraigosa's budget should get the ax."


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