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Mayor Villaraigosa wants council to declare emergency and calls for layoffs

May 12, 2009 |  1:36 pm

Citing a $529-million budget deficit, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa urged the City Council on Tuesday to declare a fiscal emergency and called for mandatory work furloughs and layoffs targeting 1,000 city employees.

"The gravity of the fiscal emergency that we face is enormous," Villaraigosa said. "Unless we act with urgency, the city will face a cash flow crisis, raising the prospect of running out of cash between November and February. "

The mayor said the city should commence layoffs of 1,000 city employees beginning July 1 but warned that thousands more could be phased in during the upcoming fiscal year. He said the layoffs would include management as well as regular staff.

Meanwhile, the mayor said he plans to implement the work furlough plan within 30 days. He said he has invited a labor representative to discuss the impact of the plan, which would require up to 26 furlough days for civilian city employees next fiscal year.

He said he would also be working with the City Council and labor officials to develop a buyout program to permanently reduce the city's civilian workforce.

The mayor said that the city's budget deficit could exceed $1 billion in fiscal year 2010-2011 if it doesn't act now.

"I have very few options here," the mayor said in a lunchtime speech to Town Hall Los Angeles. "Without concessions we won't be able to make the math work."

-- Phil Willon