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L.A. County budget shortfall at more that $500 million, layoffs possible

April 19, 2010 |  2:09 pm


Los Angeles County Chief Executive William T Fujioka said Monday that he is grappling with a $510.5 million budget shortfall and may need to lay off about 100 workers to help close the gap, even with negotiations underway with labor leaders that could yield compromises.

“This will be the worst year,” Fujioka said at a news conference today, predicting that the economic downturn will continue to ease and the pressure on the county will be far less in coming years.

In addition to possible job cuts, Fujioka's proposal to close the budget gap includes shortened library hours, reduced overtime for sheriff’s employees and the elimination of more than 1,000 vacant positions across the county.

Fujioka also cautioned that the cuts might grow significantly worse in the coming weeks because of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed $1.5 billion cut to county funding. That situation remains fluid, however, and no state cuts are included in Fujioka’s plan so far.

Currently, his budget proposal for the coming fiscal year totals $22.721 billion, a decrease of $885 million from the current budget. The proposed budget is scheduled to be presented to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, allowing for public hearings to begin May 12.

Among proposed curtailments:

  • Sheriff:  $128 million in cuts, elimination of 214 budgeted positions by downsizing the Pitchess Detention Center, deletion of 300 vacant deputy positions, reduction in overtime budget.
  • Assessor: $7.9 million reduction and elimination of 22 positions, affecting appraisals, information technology projects and other services.
  • Public Health:  $7.9 million reduction and elimination of 81 positions
  • Public Social Services:  $7.4 million and elimination of 383 positions.
  • Public Library:  $4.8 million reduction and elimination of 9 positions, reducing service hours at selected libraries and elimination of the adult literacy program.
  • Public Defender:  $4.5 million reduction and elimination of 18 positions.
  • Children and Family Services: $4.4 million reduction in programmatic areas.
  • District Attorney:  $3.6 million reduction and elimination of 25 positions.

-- Garrett Therolf at the L.A. County Hall of Administration

Photo: L.A. County Jail. Times file