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L.A. faces $100-million shortfall despite cost-cutting moves approved today

The Los Angeles City Council faces a $100-million budget shortfall even after passing a trio of cost-cutting measures today that include two labor contracts and a plan for shaving 2,400 civilian employees off the payroll.

The council voted for a two-year pact with the police officers’ union that seeks to reduce police overtime expenses by 83% next year and a separate deal that cuts the pay of 22,000 civilian employees by 4.4% through June 30.

City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana said he will present a new round of budget-cutting proposals in December or January, once the city knows how many workers have agreed to retire. But he argued that today's votes represent progress.

“One hundred million sounds like a lot, but when it started out at $400 million, it’s much more tangible,” he said.

The council unanimously approved a reworked contract with the Coalition of L.A. City Unions, which represents 22,000 civilian employees. Coalition members agreed to increase the size of their contribution to the retirement fund and, for the remainder of the fiscal year, cut their pay by 3.5 hours in each 80-hour pay period.

In exchange, 2,400 employees will be eligible to leave up to five years early with full benefits. Early retirement will reduce expenses by $47.2 million between now and June 30, Santana said.

Councilman Jose Huizar praised the plan, saying it will allow the city to slash payroll costs without resorting to layoffs.

“With layoffs it would have been much more chaotic,” he said.

The council also voted 12-1, with Councilman Bernard Parks opposed, on the contract with the Police Protective League, which represents nearly 10,000 officers. That agreement reduces by 20% the salaries provided to newly recruited officers and will require officers to convert unused sick time into additional days off – a move designed to save $10 million.

The cornerstone, however, is a reduction in overtime costs, which are slated to drop by $45 million between now and June 30. By reworking the way in which overtime is compensated, officers will be able to accrue up to 399 hours of overtime – one and a half times the regular salary -- that can be paid out in future years.

Officers who work a 400th hour of overtime must be paid in cash. Although some officers will delay overtime payments, the LAPD will also need to reduce the total number of overtime hours worked by police, Santana said.

“At the end of the day, there will be a service impact,” he said.

Parks voted against the police agreement, saying it will, in many instances, delay the city’s overtime costs instead of reducing them.

“We’re deferring costs until future years,” he said. “And when those two years are up, we’ve got to pay for it.”

-- David Zahniser at L.A. City Hall

Comments () | Archives (27)

that's just what, $10.00 for each illegal alien in LA, !no hay problemo!

Everyone living in this city can see the 800 lb. gorilla sitting in the corner of the room, but our officials as well as the mainstream press still refuse to acknowledge it. This city is shouldering the burden of people flooding into Los Angeles from Mexico and Central America, draining our resources, and having an alarming number of children which further tax our ability to keep our city's head above water. I understand people coming here for a better life, but the reality of the situation is that the lifeboat is full. Unless we do something about both illegal immigration, and birthright citizenship, everyone in the boat drowns.

I'm not sure about all this immigration talk, but I know the city gets much of its tax revenue from business taxes, so care should be taken that all businesses, from corporations to street vendors, are registered (with appropriate tax breaks given to qualified small businesses).

I was in LA once...Its loaded with scumbags and dirty illegal immigrants.Its going to be a treat to see the state of California go down.The folks that pay the taxes are moving out in droves.How do you say it ? hasta la vista


Something is wrong when I read caltrans has gassed up all those parked vehicles. What serious needs to happend is all those empty building that LA owns they need to sell of the surplus and lease space. That would help out CA and los Angeles in the end. Cut out over bidding. Why does it cost millions to pave a street? Over time is great for an employee bad for big business. Thse city should not own one thing they should lease it all. Private contact is the way to go. The new parker center must have cost a fortune. Like City halls, they had they money and they spent it big time.

The greed runs wild for eight years and these yahoos still want to blame it on the Mexicans.

I wonder if Mark gets a receipt from his Asian rub and tug?

My, my, my! The ink isn't even dry on that pathetic contract the coalition sold to their members and already the City is crying a 100 million dollar shortfall! Who would have thought!

I hope those members realize that their union just sold the farm, the crops, the cows, and all their cash to the City Council. Can you bend over and say OUCH!

This is what happens when our electorate not only turn a blind eye, but declare sanctuary city status so every low skilled, uneducated illegal alien from south of the border can stream across, have babies and claim welfare for the babies, food stamps, county benefits, section 8 housing, overwhelm our public school system, create gangs, gang-rape little girls in packs of 25 with nobody raising a hand to stop the madness and generally taking more than they are contributing to society.

I hate this city.

Seriously, why isn't the Los Angeles Times pointing out that the Coalition's agreement includes a provision allowing for up to one-third of any $100 million shortfall to be made up for by the Coalition?

They should get acknowledgement for agreeing to further help the City beyond the initial cuts they approved and mentioned here.

The LA City Council is so ridiculously incompetent!
That's why LA looks like a "3rd world city," that's why we don't have an NFL team, and on and on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You are correct Blake.

The greed of the unions, illegal immigrant activists and the politicians who pander to both.

The cost of providing food, education and medial care along with corresponding infrastructure has broke the bank.

In 99.9999% of illegal immigrants families will they ever be able to pay 1/4 of their way. The rest are here as freebies courtesy of the real taxpayer..and the taxpayer is broke.

The union and illegal parasites have killed the host.........

Sounds like the police officers are getting a pretty good deal compared with many others.

I could solve L.A.'s budget deficit in two words: marijuana tax.

I thought the Midwest States had $$$problems...well I was wrong!!!
The state of California should be sold back to Mexico. That would mean the problems would be that of Mexico and not America.

This really doesn't surprise me give City Council's lack of desire to make cuts. A few years ago I lobbied them to cut Channel 36's funding of over $600,000 a year and simply merge it into the channel they actually own (Channel 35) which has a separate budget of over $2 million.

Two Mayors listened and tried to cut the budget to zero, only to see it reinstated at the last minute by City Council due to Channel 36's heavy lobbying at City Hall. All the woe of me songs were sung during Council but my advice at a simple merger was ignored. I ask you this. If the City has no say in the operation of Channel 36 why should it give them the money when it has its own TV Channel (35)? Channel 36 isn't even owned by the City yet the City continues to consider laying off their own workers while giving this absurd amount of money to them.

We're not just talking about a staff that has little to do there. We're talking about two sets of expensive production equipment, two sets of rent, two sets of production staff to pay for. Does this make sense to any of you?

There is so much waste at City Hall. The L.A. Times should consider a weekly column doing nothing but exposing this type of waste that all City employees are aware of. It would do a world of good for everyone. Follow Channel 36 and if it's not cut out of this years budget, then you'll know the City is not serious about watching your hard earned tax money.

Wow Blake, I'm so impressed at how clever and smart you are. At least the Asians understand the value of education, and opportunity. Look at all the colleges, and the people who are excelling in them. Asians. Now go look up the drop out statistics for second generation Hispanics. Please don't embarrass yourself with the weak comparison.

And what "greed" are you specifically speaking of? Is it the usual intellectual left response to everything-blame Bush? Now to set the record straight, I'm a Democrat. A proud Union Democrat. But I'm starting to question things a little bit, seeing the results of a Democratically controlled state and city for years and years. And please, don't bring up Arnold. He's completely irrelevant. We have a bunch of emotionally based idiots in Sacramento, as well as the confederacy of dunces in Los Angeles, who make all their decisions on what feels good. What we need are some business people to come in, make good logical decisions, and point out that when 90% of births at county hospitals are by mothers here in this country illegally, that this might be a financial problem. 90%! That for the rest of their lives, this city, state and country will be paying the bill in one way or another. Oh I forgot, it's the 8 years of greed....

So please stop with your superior, condescending tone. Take a drive through East LA, or Pacoima, or Van Nuys, or pretty much anywhere in this city. Stop with all the theory, and open your eyes!

One hundred million dollar deficit? You wish. So do I, actually. But I suspect the actual number over the course of the fiscal year will be closer to $600 million.

So how do they justify a pay increase to DWP workers on the same day? The Coalition of City Unions just got bent over.

From the related story about DWP workers getting a raise, I saw a hysterically funny comment:

Matt Szabo, deputy chief of staff for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, praised the DWP agreement, saying it "provides the shared sacrifice that the mayor has asked for."

I don't understand where the DWP workers are sharing in the sacrifice. Maybe because they're not getting MORE of a raise.

I read the LA Times and the Detroit Free Press every day because I find it absolutely hilarious to watch two U.S. cities turn themselves into third-world dumps and then complain about the inevitable consequences.

All very entertaining!

I would certainly be interested in a daily series of front page exposes on the waste and fraud in our local government. Also, we have way, way too many government employees in LA. We need mass layoffs, not "early retirement". Soon no one will be left to pay the taxes to support these people and their families.

Mark you are an intelligent man, but your hatred of the world specially the ones that do not reflect yourcolor of skin overwhelms your ignorance. Take a look at the European countries such as France, Italy, Spain and Germany whose population is being overwhelmed by immigrants from Africa and Middle Eastern countries.

With the exception of the Muslims who still claim Spain as theirs, the other countries have no ties to this wave of migration. Imagine if we did not have the Pacific Ocean between America and Asian countries we would also be overwhelmed, not that we are not already. Take a look at other ethnic groups, I will bet you that half of them are here illegally.

I agree with you that we are a nation of laws and they must be respected, but when a wave after wave of migration comes our way, we must swallow our words and erect the highest wall all-around the United States and condemn all of those who will now call us hypocrites. No my good sir, what we need to do is help the economies of those countries that are sending the largest groups of illegal immigrants to our country, instead of sending the money to countries where hatred of America is poisoning.

Only then we will see that these countries that we help will no longer have the need to send us their cheap labor. But, you are right; with corruption rampant our money will be wasted. Just relax, take a deep breath a and pack your bags to the high country in Montana, which I hear is lovely in the winter.

Oh isn't Montana Spanish for Mountain, Oh well migration might be coming there in 40 years.

Good luck to you and all like you that carry the Gene of Ignorance!

Listen this is only round one. Of the city workers polled that they want to retire early very few said they will do it.
The SIEU Union members agreed via contract that after the city makes adjustments if there is still a shortfall they will have to cut jobs.
The bottom line there will be a hiring freeze and elimination of current jobs to avoid bankruptcy. The hope is the economy will turn late 2010 to minimum damage. If the State and Federal Government keeps speeding on new programs expect the economy to keep getting worse. With the exception of infrastructure speeding all other speeding is going into a big black hole (don't worry though, some rich people are at the bottom catching it).

Heres a thought that escapes nearly every single democrat (elected or not); improve the business climate so business's will move back here and pay taxes.

Makes me wonder why no one at the city/county/state level doesnt understand that.

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