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Official recommends LAPD expansion be put on budget chopping block

May 13, 2009 |  3:41 pm

One of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s top priorities, to hire 1,000 additional police officers, may be in jeopardy.

To close the city’s estimated $529-million budget shortfall, the City Council today will consider imposing a hiring freeze on the police and fire departments. The recommendation comes from the council’s chief analyst, Gerry Miller, and will be considered by the budget and finance committee this afternoon.

Miller also recommended laying off 800 civilian city workers, and mandating that all civilian employees take 26 unpaid furlough days during the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Those numbers would be greatly reduced if the city employee unions agree to salary and benefit concessions, he said. The mayor’s office is pushing the unions to consider salary freezes, buyouts and increased employee contributions for healthcare and pension benefits.

“We recognize that these recommendations are drastic and will have major impacts on city services and on city employees," Miller said in his budget recommendations to the council. “However, given the significant risk to the city’s financial solvency ... we believe that the actions contained in this report are essential."

Since Villaraigosa was elected in 2005, the total number of LAPD officers has increased by 750. A hiring freeze would nearly wipe out those gains, since about 520 officers a year leave through normal attrition. The LAPD currently has 9,883 officers.

The full council will begin deliberating over the budget on Monday.

-- Phil Willon