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Is it time to stop debating and lay off 1,000 L.A. workers? What do you think?


Talk back L.A.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa addressed the L.A. City Council on Tuesday, urging them to act on his plan to cut city jobs.

Last week, the mayor expressed frustration about the council’s indecision in dealing with the city's budget shortfall, including his call to eliminate 1,000 city jobs.

But Council President Eric Garcetti on Tuesday defended the council, saying it "didn't slow down one day on the layoffs." Last week, the council approved a motion stating "that no layoffs of city personnel take place in the next 30 days," but members called for a list of 1,000 positions that could be cut.

"There was no failure to act," Garcetti said.

What do you think? Should the council cut the 1,000 jobs? Is there a better way? Or is the council simply stalling? Share your views below.

-- Shelby Grad

Photo: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa addresses the City Council, answering questions for nearly two hours Tuesday. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (58)

I'm not unsympathetic to those who would lose their jobs. Still, government bureacracies are well known to be overstaffed thru empire building by department heads. Where the personnel cuts should be made is what will reveal the difference between a bureaucrat and a business person.
In any case, it is a tough decision that appears to be necessary.

mini mayor needs to be layed-off ...he caused this problem by not watching the store and letting over 6,000 people be hired since he has been in office. Start with him and his staff....very poor management. Recall!!

well, if you don't have money why wouldn't you lay off some workers?

Heck yes they should cut jobs. When there is no money, there is no money. And there is no way to sustain the upward spiral of more spending, more taxes.

So stop coddling government workers and lay them off just like all of us in the overburdened private sector get dealt with.

Yes, if a reduced workforce is necessary but do it the right way. The mayor should know that Civil Service rules determine who gets laid off. Going on TV and "ordering" lay offs is political drama we don't need. Giving false hope to some workers by promising transfers to proprietary department is wrong when those moves may be superceded by long standing Civil Service lay off rules and procedures.

Of course there is a better way. The people making the big bucks need to take a pay cut to save the little fish on the bottom. Thats what makes the most sense. The brass wants personnel to work as a team, but when job cuts loom around then they become the "I" in team.

Truthfully, it doesn't much matter to me. We are at such a place of pain now in the city that hearing of more layoffs is like hearing you have to lose another finger off your right hand. I looked at the list of jobs they are planning to cut and wondered, "How can I be a Clerk Typist or a Customer Service person for $42,000 a year?"

I'm sure my feelings echo those of the rest of the 14% of us who cannot find full-time, middle class pay level jobs. More misery ahead? What else is new?

cut the jobs or it will get worse. We are not solvent.

Three years ago, there was a warning from then-CAO Karen Sisson that the City would be in this mess this year. The Mayor and Council did nothing to change course despite two years of pleading by labor. The Mayor all but ignored the issue in his bid for office last year. This was a slow avalanche that has been approcahing for years, but the Council stuck their head in the sand hoping it would pass us over. Now the Mayor wants to point the finger at the group of labor that represents less than 25% of the General Fund. How is this fair?

There has been a hiring freeze in most departments for the last two years, and the workers that take care of this City have been thinning in ranks and stepping up to the plate by doing more with less resources. Yet the city's budget is eaten up by Council "discretionary" spending, consulting contracts and pet projects all over town. Private contractors are salivating at the thought of pocketing millions to do the same job City workers do for less. How about recouping the hundreds of millions in uncollected taxes before laying off? How about cutting back the on the overpaid consultants that interview City workers for ideas and then present them as their own? How about stopping the fee waivers for politically connected people? There has to be a better way than sending people to the unemployment line.

Why are there not layoffs, furloughs & pay cuts for the LA city council & Mayor Villaraigosa & his office?

You want my opinion? I think that until the Elected Elite of this City cut their salaries to realistic levels for themselves and their staff, and fork over some of that perk money they hide from the books, no City employee should be laid off! They keep using the term Shared Sacrifice, yet the only ones sacrificing are the taxpayers and the employees who make the City run! With such a financial crisis looming, what Mayor, in all "good conscious," continue to collect a salary of $232,000,00 annually, or maintain a 7,000 square foot office in Washington DC that costs thousands of dollars a month to lease, or continue to take trips on the taxpayer's dime! Why is the City Council's salary at $148,000? For that matter why should they get a raise every time a Superior Court Judge does? Why are most of their staffers paid a salary of $111,000 to start if we have no money? Why do we have so many Deputy Mayors, each taking a salary of $198,000 a year, not to mention their staff salaries and perks? Very few City empolyees make more than $35 - 45,000 a year, which is commensurate to what private sector jobs make. Instead of punishing those who can't fight back, how about consolidating the Council down to 6 persons, cutting the perks and salaries of the Elected Elite, and getting rid of a few Deputy Mayors! Private contract should also be terminated. Why do you think the City has employees? To do the work (for far cheaper) that private contractors do now!


Absolutely, and probably more than 1000. The sad part is just that all of these layoffs are going to be seniority based and they'll end up getting rid of the young new hires who are actually still hard-working and motivated.
God forbid we ever allowed a merit-based layoff system where we could get rid of all the deadwood coasting towards retirement with no motivation to do anything at all. How the city ever thought this was a good demand to cave in to, I'll never understand.

Time to DEPORT!

Although we should support layoffs, the bigger issue is all of the entitlements that government workers have. This is what is causing our financial problems. If the entitlements would be scaled back, we would be able to keep the current workforce and possibly add more services to the population. However, we have to pay high salaries, benefits, pensions, and other elements for current employees and this is not sustainable. Yes, solve the short-term problem but put in place a smart sustainable solution that addresses the "real" problem...GOVERNMENT ENTITLEMENTS HAVE TO GO!!!!

Please start by looking at the people who make more than $100K/yr. Most of those folks have little to do and are generally the obstacles to the citizenry. I worked for the Dept. of Building and Safety for 11 years and have some experience in the 'maze'.

The city isn't any different than the Fortune 500. City employees shouldn't be immune from layoffs when the city is plunging into a vat of red ink. They have actually started pricing themselves out of work with their generous salaries, benefits, and retirement plans. It's the people who fund their employment and I'm beginning the question the value I'm getting for my money. It's time for the city management team to step up to the plate and start running the city like a business. Cut the fluff, bite the bullet and get on with enabling the City of the Angels to return to the gem it once was.

No thanks. I don't need the competition.

I think it is time for cuts, but the way things are structured, how much will it really help? I still don't understand how we can justify cutting people based only on seniority, and not on, say, job performance, the necessity of the job that they are doing, etc. No business could run like that, but somehow the state does. So we run out the ones making the least dent on the payroll, but shuffle others to "depts unaffected by the budget crisis." Really, how important are their jobs if they can be shuffled to another dept? Who's going to fund an influx of senior positions with senior pay in these other depts? And how does offering early retirement help balance the books when the city is on the hook for the underwater pensions?

In addition, it seems like the majority are protected by the last contract negotiation, so they can't be laid off until July 1, and even then if there are layoffs we have to give everyone else raises. Why would the city agree to that?

I may be wrong, but hasn't our mayor said for the past three years that they're going to take a serious look at layoffs, and yet very few if any layoffs have occurred? Early last year, they couldn't even freeze hiring effectively.

In any case, they should have been thinking already of possible layoffs, I don't buy that they need yet another 30 days to take any kind of action.

I am so sick of all you people who continue to blame the financial woes on City employees. What have we done that was so wrong? We got a job with the City knowing that it's a stable job where we can make a difference in the community, where we can proudly serve the public. Of course, we will fight for our jobs if we had the chance. Wouldn't any of you do the same? It's a shame that so many of you are judging us by the few you perceive as lazy. If only you guys can really see all the hard-working employees behind the scenes... the ones who work at trying to save the City money in their everyday activities, the ones who work overtime for free just to get the job done, the ones who work through their lunch hour to finish an assignment, the ones who never expect anything in return for doing a job well-done. No... instead you guys judge us on a select few who just happen to be in the public eye. It really is too bad. And now the Mayor is spinning this in the media that the only way we can get out of this is to lay off these hard working employees. Since when do layoffs actually help improve the economy??? It doesn't work in the private industry and it certainly won't help in the public industry. If I had major stock in a company, the last thing I would vote for would be to lay off the employees. It just doesn't make any sense. I guess that's the difference between people in private and people serving the public--- public servants would never wish layoffs on anyone.

You guys really need to see that it's all mismanagement of funds, and not anything to do with City Employees or the pay we receive. Our wonderful mayor spent when revenues were up, but he unfortunately did not have the foresight to see that revenues weren't going to stay up. So he continued to spend, and spend, and spend. Maybe he thought he could do this knowing he was leaving to run for Governor. Well, that certainly bit him back in his behind, didn't it? Now he's stuck running a City in the financial mess he helped create, and the only way out is to hurt the City employees. Keep in mind, however, that he has no intention of cutting that huge slush fund of his, and neither do any of the Council members.

Put the hate where it belongs.... at the top! This mayor needs to be recalled before he puts us all in the dumps!

The Los Angeles City Council is the highest paid city council in the US. When are they going to accept a pay cut?

Yes have a lay off but start at the top (Mayors and City Council Staff), quit spending money you don't have, it is not fair to the tax payers. If the city is that close to being insolvent, it has been coming for a long time and nothing was done about it, how do these people keep getting re-elected?????????? Throw them all out and start over.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's proposal makes common sense but it will make the economy in the City even worse off. The City employees are customers of local businesses and terminating them is going to remove their consumption from the local economy.

Ask small businesses how their sales are now. Ask them how their businesses are being affected by the banks who are unwilling to lend. They are not worried about taxes, they need for customers to buy and to buy more just to stay solvent.

If the City can borrow to keep these people on, it will raise the debt that taxpayers will eventually pay, but it will keep a lot of those taxpayers consuming goods and services that will support the economy until it begins to recover.

Yes, it's time to cut jobs. In a real business (nonprofit or for-profit) what would happen is you would determine what % you needed to cut from spending to balance the books. Then you would spread that amongst ALL departments, perhaps leaving out a few over-performing departments or making their cut smaller. All City departments, from City Council discretionary spending to LAPD to DWP and so forth need to be directed to cut like 5% from their budgets. Then we wouldn't notice such a huge reduction in services and those budget could be pumped back up in flush times.

I don't know where these ideas that we should cut entire departments (small departments at that) would alleviate our budgetary deficit came from. It's ludicrous. Cutting a department that has a $1 million budget does not alleviate a $15 million deficit.

Sorry folks, it's time for some layoffs. It's happened at my place of business to keep us afloat and at others. Why do you think it shouldn't happen at the City level? Some departments could choose furloughs and pay cuts if they don't want to lay anyone off and want to make up their 5% cut that way; in past recessions my place of business allowed us employees to choose to do that to save other jobs. Run the City like a business and stop allowing unions (which should protect worker's rights not their jobs) to run our City into the ground.

The government is bloated and running on fat. It needs to learn to do more with less, like the rest of us. And the community needs to step up to fill gaps in services in the meantime.

I don't wish a job loss on anyone; I know it's difficult out there, but the consequences of not affecting cuts immediately are much worse. Furthermore, I think anyone who goes to work for the City of County or any governmental agency HAS not know that in times of economic crisis, they do not have job security. You're going to tell me you didn't know this was ever going to be a possibility? I've considered applying for jobs at the City before and have refrained for this exact reason! Again, I am sorry, though, that there are people who will inevitably be let go. I wish them the best of luck in their job searches.

Uh, duh--of course it's time. But you have to start with Villaraigosa's personal entourage, then City Council's. Get rid of the "Chiefs of Staff," Confidential Assistants, Special Assistants, Counselors, schedulers, drivers, PR people. That should be close to 1000 right there.

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