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Compton considers deep job cuts to close $25-million budget gap

June 3, 2011 |  8:44 am

Photo: Compton resident Lynne Boone, center, makes a point while addressing the city council. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times The city of Compton is planning to lay off about 90 employees to bridge a gaping budget gap, a move that would bring the total number of cuts in the Southeast Los Angeles County city to 181 positions.

About half of those total jobs are vacant and the other half are workers who will receive pink slips, officials said Thursday.

Compton is trying to slash its current $58-million budget by one quarter for the year beginning July 1 because of a $25-million general-fund deficit with no reserves.

Even with the proposed job cuts, the city is still $7.1 million away from having a balanced budget proposal for the coming year.

The City Council voted last week to authorize the city manager to initiate layoffs. As of last Friday, City Manager Willie Norfleet said notices had been sent out to every city employee.

Many of those employees asked their elected leaders to think twice Thursday night, following a six-hour budget hearing.

"I just want you to see a face of an employee who may be laid off," said Lonnie Davis, 35, a code enforcement officer and single father of two whose job is on the chopping block.

Meanwhile, union representatives took city officials to task for not providing them with a full financial picture. City officials have met with union representatives to discuss possible ways to avoid job cuts.

The exact jobs to be cut are still under negotiation, but lower-level jobs, such as code enforcement officers, street maintenance workers and painters, were proposed at the Thursday hearing.

Also being considered are department heads, such as the human resources director and the planning director, proposals City Atty. Craig Cornwell said would have to be researched to determine their legality.

Council members questioned whether important city departments would be able to run effectively without directors.

"If we don't cut the top salaries, that means we have to cut more of the lower salaries," countered Mayor Eric Perrodin.

"If we do not cut, there is no way that you can last two months in a new fiscal year carrying the load that we have," Norfleet, the city manager, told the council. "If you don't do anything and go forward, you will reach a month very soon when you will not have money to pay vendors and employees."

The final budget hearing is scheduled for June 14.


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Photo: Compton resident Lynne Boone makes a point while addressing the City Council. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times