Mayor Orders 1,000 Layoffs

Despite City Council delay, Mayor orders layoffs

"We are living beyond our means and have difficult choices to make," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Thursday.

And with that, he ordered the layoffs of 1,000 city employees to help balance the city's budget.

"Every day throughout our city, from breakfast tables to board rooms, Angelenos are working hard to make it through these tough economic times," the mayor wrote on his Web site.

We must protect our economic future," the Mayor said.

Villaraigosa said he was exercising his authority as outlined in the city charter to take "immediate action toward balancing this fiscal year's budget, strengthening the city's credit rating and restoring the city's long- term fiscal health."

In addition to eliminating 1,000 filled positions, Villaraigosa called on the City Council to adopt an ordinance allowing city employees to retire without the usual 30- to 60-day advance application requirement, a step that would most early-retirement applicants off the city's payroll by March 13.

He also asked the council to transfer $40 million in uncommitted funds to the city's General Fund.

On Wednesday, the City Council -- after hearing hours of impassioned testimony from city workers desperate to keep their jobs -- voted unanimously not to implement any layoffs for 30 days, even though the city's deficit had ballooned to $212 million and was expected to increase daily.

The reprieve was aimed at giving the council time to come up with alternative cost-cutting proposals that would minimize -- perhaps even eliminate -- what budget analysts said was a need to cut as many as 1,500 civilian jobs.

There were 27,592 people employed by the city government as of Dec. 1.

While Villaraigosa ordered the elimination of 1,000 filled positions, he said up to 360 of the affected workers could be eligible to transfer to specially funded positions or other jobs that are not paid for by the city's General Fund.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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