Villaraigosa says L.A. must lay off 'a large number of people'
This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Thursday that he will call for layoffs of city employees as part of the budget he proposes next month.
"We're going to lay off a large number of employees. I'm not going to say how many," he told an audience at the City Administrative Officer Investors Conference, at the Grammy Museum in downtown's L.A. Live complex.
The announcement comes weeks after the city's five-member employee bargaining committee, which includes Villaraiogsa, asked city unions to give up raises that are scheduled for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Those unions refused to reopen contract talks.
Since the recession began, more than 300 city workers have been laid off and thousands more have retired or been transferred to agencies not affected by the budget crisis, such as the Department of Water and Power. The city now faces a $220-million budget shortfall.
"I've said to our employees," the mayor continued, "either we get it through the City Council ... or I'm going to put an initiative on the ballot the way they've done in San Jose, the way they've already done in San Diego and the way they're gonna do in cities around the country."
For the record, 6:40 p.m., March 29: A previous version of this post quoted Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as saying, “We’re going to lay off a large number of employees. I’m not going to say how many.” He said, "We're going to lay off a large number of people. I'm not going to say the number yet.”
-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall
Photo: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa talks to the media in 2009 after the City Council voted to move ahead with a plan to impose furloughs and layoffs on its civilian workforce. Credit: Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times