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Mood tense as Villaraigosa meets with managers to discuss budget gap

As Los Angeles officials continue preparations to eliminate as many as 1,000 city positions to bridge a nearly $200-million budget gap, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa met with his general managers today to seek their ideas for shrinking the size of city government.

Matt Szabo, the mayor's deputy chief of staff and budget adviser, said the mood was tense.

On Friday the city's top budget analyst, Miguel Santana, is expected to outline positions and departments that could be eliminated in a report to the City Council.

But Szabo cautioned that city officials are continuing to explore ways to move workers off the payroll while maintaining their jobs. One example under serious discussion, Szabo said, is turning the L.A. Convention Center over to a private company, but negotiating an agreement by which current employees would work for the new operator.

“We’re looking at ways for smarter, better reductions in costs -- that doesn’t mean we’re going to be lopping off services and sending employees to the unemployment line,” Szabo said. “It’s highly likely that the mayor and council will determine that we don’t need to run the Convention Center anymore, perhaps we don’t need to run the zoo anymore or our municipal golf courses. We could figure out a way to still provide those services to the public without the city incurring the direct cost of running those programs.”

Villaraigosa and some council members hope to avoid hundreds of layoffs by transferring workers to jobs that are not paid for by the general fund--vacancies in some of the city’s special-funded departments including the airport, housing and sanitation.

The City Council, meanwhile, met behind closed doors for nearly two hours to discuss the city’s declining revenues and the possibility of layoffs. Council President Eric Garcetti said that beginning next week, the Council would devote two of their three meetings each week to the budget crisis and job creation.

“We are in a full-blown emergency with the worst downturn to our city’s revenues since the Great Depression,” Garcetti said. “The last time we had four quarters in a row where the revenues went down by double digits was the Great Depression.”

Councilman Bernard C. Parks, chairman of the council’s budget committee, said layoffs appear to be inevitable. “We’ve pretty much eliminated all vacant positions over the last several months,” Parks said. “So we’re talking about real live people sitting in positions and those positions being eliminated.”

-- Maeve Reston at Los Angeles City Hall

 
Comments () | Archives (15)

The sworn officers and staff I work with think it is a very bad idea (and I am being polite) for the City to hire 1000 police officers while all civilian staff are taking forced furlough days and hours. Once these lay offs are enacted, we will have more vacancies therefore Police Officers will have no choice but to continue working these desk jobs.

Hire more Police Officers when the City can afford to and this means no forced furlough days for city employees. It is common sense that the City doesn't have the money to hire more police officers. We will do find with the officers we currently have.

86 the illegal immigrants and save jobs.

I wonder if I still have a job tommorrow? I've have sacrificed already. I have taken work furloughs since last year and continue to take work furloughs this year and next year. I am willing to go part time work, so long as the city will not lay me off. Please Mr. Mayor save my job! I do not want to be a satistic.

They should start by cutting top management. Why do departments need a geneneral manager, several assistant general managers and multiple executive officers. The commission should also be cut since the GMs report directly to the Mayor what purpose does all that staff that is generally assigned to commission offices serve?

Elected officials have created the conditions that will lead LA to become a third world city, few services except police, fire, and elected officials who believe their own press releases. Who needs streets? Lights? Parks? Arts? No, lets sell our assets, shut down any quality of life services, and fee the public to death. That way we can pay for cops and fire fighters to max their overtime and help elected officials feel better by surrounding themselves with fresh out of ivy league school staffers who all think they should be Mayor. Great leadership Mayor, Council President Garcetti, and the rest of you (Parks and Smith excepted...for the most part).

And by the way, I do not mean to disparage third world cities in general; no doubt many of them are run better than this one.

I'd like to see a push for more efficiency in city facilities and operations. Simple things like a mandatory 2o% cut in paper use, consolidation of 15% of the city's printers and faxes (since they have copiers that can already function as printers, scanners, and faxes), elimination of furloughs for city employees in positions that actually generate revenue for the city, and juice up the taxes on billboard advertising.

I appreciate the comments from ffdays but I am more inclined to keep our police numbers up; especially when you read about hundreds and thousands of state prisoners being released. We need our uniformed police officers on the streets and the desk jobs filled by civilians. We have had some difficulties in our neighborhood but with the help of our officers, the situation was mitigated and we are very thankful they were there to help.
At least with police officers, the taxpayer feels like he/she is getting what they pay for.

RWH:

"We need our uniformed police officers on the streets and the desk jobs filled by civilians."

The problem is that the Mayor is looking to layoff those civilians... meaning you can't have both. That's precisely the point ffdays was trying to make: we keep hiring police officers but are going to fire the support staff that make it possible to deploy those new officers. The result: new officers stuck in desk jobs that were vacated by laid off civilians.

As I have been commenting in all my opinions this past year:
This Chicago Style: Corrupt Political Machine from Patron of a Mayor and his allies on City Council have never learned to control it’s own spending habits and continues with its business as usual of failed policies of budgeting.
This City is in a financial crisis only this Machine only knows how take away from career employees and attempt to raise taxes and services even further.
Voters can not wait until next election. The time has come to cut our losses and recall this Corrupt Political Machine starting with this Patron of a Mayor.

The first thing to do is get rid of most of the mayor's staff. Most are inexperienced and unqualified like the mayor himself and do little. Also, the mayor hired Randi Levin to head the ITA department and gave her more money than city employees who have worked for 30 years. She also brought 3 assistant general managers with her, highly paid,who each manage not even 100 people. ITA department is top heavey with over paid,upper management, who are all pay back for supporting this corrupt mayor. RECALL NOW! He is bankrupting the city by hiring police and his friends.

We need to begin farms, not just growing food but food forests, for phosphorous, for nutrient density flows, so that the run off becomes fertilizer for your food. While water is harvested and reused again and again through multiple sustainable systems, like a solar hot water spa, then to a fish tank to a garden. That is the great shift to survival. That is the only plan for the future. . The proxy war for resources is on, the collapse is on, the end game is at play.

Learn Permaculture, food forest or perish

The Mayor is responsible for the budget crisis. When he was first elected, then re-elected he wanted "absolute" control. Well he got it and now he has screwed the City of Los Angeles with his lack of leadership abilities. His only redeeming quality (if one could call it that) is his ability to have his face available for any and all photo opportunities.
First, the Mayor needs to be removed from office. Second, ALL ILLEGAl ALIENS need to be kicked out so the drain on our City, State, and Federal funds can be used for what they were intended for: assistance and aid to United States Citizens.
Third, a restructuring of the City Council must take place. Where are the City Council members taking a pay cut or forced furlough days? Fourth, The Mayor's salary needs to be cut in half. He should not be entitled to live in a mansion at the tax payer's expense. Why does the Mayor need 8 to 12 different cars and a 24 hour "Protection Detail" paid for by our tax dollars.
Fifth, LEAVE THE LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT AND ITS OFFICERS AOLNE!!! Now that Chief Beck has taken over for the former liar and self centered political puppet Bratton, the rank and file members of the LAPD have a chance to take back the streets from the criminal element who continued to prey on the weak and defenseless under the poltical butt kissing of Bratton to all the different Activist Groups.
Sixth, the laws need to be changed: If you are here in the United States Illegally and have a child born here, that child should not be entitled to U.S. Citizenship or any benefits designed for U.S. Citizens. That will deter the many ILLEGALS from coming here looking for free hand outs at the expense of our tax dollars and a protection of deportation.
Seventh, with the thousands of ILLEGAL ALIENS gone, crime will drope drastically, the prison population will be reduced, and the U.S. Citizens, the Citizens of Los Angeles will be gainfully employed once again. Unemployment in Los Angeles and the rest of the United States will virtually be eliminated.

OK, this city is quite obviously inadequately managed. As always, the poor sods at the bottom of the food chain do all the giving and the few opportunists at the top do all the taking. But hey, what the hell are we all complaining about anyway? That's the absolute definition of capitalism, isn't it?
(capitalize-verb: to take advantage of; turn something to one's advantage) We are a capitalist society, right? This is the American way, isn't it?
What everyone here seems to be missing out on is that this is not all happening in a vacuum. The City, the County, the State, the Country, the World are all suffering through this downturn together. It was not all caused by this mayor, this council, the public employee unions, or any other little L.A. peons. This is big-time crap people!
Am I the only one who sees this decay trailing all the way back to the buying of votes a decade ago? Remember that? Remember when the federal government had a surplus, but there was still a huge federal deficit? Sort of like when you've made the minimum payments on all of your credit cards and you have a little cash left, even though all of your cards are still maxed out.
Remember how we all voted for the [insert your preferred noun here] who told us that the surplus was there because those "evil incubents" had overtaxed us? Remember how the [insert your preferred noun here again] promised to give "our" money back to us if [insert your preferred pronoun here] was elected? Remember how happy we all were to cash those $300 government checks ($600 if you filed jointly) while the [insert your preferred noun here] used the opportunity to give all of the REAL "special interests" hundreds of thousands to millions of U.S. Treasury dollars?
Wasn't that where the most recent epidemic of the pillage of the public coffers began? So didn't we all really get what we deserve? Did we actually think that the $300 was a free lunch? That we were truly "entitled" to it? Why are we all blaming others for the misfortune that our collective greed and selfishness has brought upon us?

The chaiman of the council budget committee earns more money than anyone else in the city. Only in Los Angeles would someone on a $20,000 a month pension plus an $15,000 salary be in charge of the budget.

I wish the Times were more stringent on their posting policies. The people who claim that the "City" (i.e., civil service) is full of "ILLEGAL ALIENS" are simply wrong (it may not have been specifically posted on this thread, but I've seen it elsewhere).

The City of Los Angeles has strict hiring requirements and one of those is that the applicant show legal citizenship and proper documentation.

To insinuate that the "Mayor hires illegal immigrants" is not only untrue (he has NO POWER or CONTROL over civil service hiring), but it is also racist, imflammatory and rhetoric from loons.


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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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