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So far, L.A. city officials have avoided layoffs, but 24 workers are still at risk

July 27, 2009 |  5:25 pm

Nearly a month into its new fiscal year, the city of Los Angeles has so far avoided laying off any workers to keep its budget in balance, officials said today.

Margaret Whelan, general manager of the city’s Personnel Department, told a City Council committee that her office has drawn up a list of 24 employees who face the possibility of losing their jobs. Each of those employees is represented by the Engineers and Architects Assn., a union that has not agreed to any concessions or wage cuts to address the city’s budget shortfall.

Still, Whelan said the department would not act on any of those layoffs until officials know how many other city workers have decided to take advantage of a planned early retirement package. Several other employee unions voted for that package last week.

Even if the layoffs become necessary, personnel officials pointed out that at least 15 of the 24 employees would probably find jobs in other city departments.

The council has already begun forcing members of the Engineers and Architects union to take mandatory furloughs. Those furloughs recently saved the city $2.1 million over a two-week period, said Assistant City Administrative Officer Tom Coultas.

No furloughs will be imposed on members of the Coalition of L.A. City Unions, which agreed to accept delays in pay increases in exchange for the early retirement package.

-- David Zahniser at L.A. City Hall