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Bankrupt San Bernardino eliminates nearly 100 city jobs

September 6, 2012 |  7:20 am

San Bernardino bankruptcy
After two days of marathon, contentious meetings, the San Bernardino City Council voted to eliminate close to 100 city jobs as it faces a $45.8-million budget shortfall.

It postponed a decision on proposed Fire Department cutbacks that could lead to station closures. The council also approved a measure to explore outsourcing trash collection to a private company, eliminating the city sanitation department.

Of the 100 eliminated jobs, 41 are non-sworn positions in the Police Department. The rest are positions in other departments ranging from managers to janitors. The cutbacks also could lead to the closure of three or four library branches.

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The council made no decision on a plan to downsize the Fire Department by cutting 20 positions, a move that probably would trigger rolling "brownouts" -- rotating, temporary closures of fire stations.

Doing that would be "risking lives," said Councilman John Valdivia.

The council will take up the issue again in two weeks.

The austerity plan would cut close $20 million from the city's $166.2-million budget, just a portion of the $45.8 million that will need to be cut.

The city filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection last month, making it the third California city to do so this summer. Interim City Manager Andrea Travis-Miller told the council it had no choice but to make the cuts as the city winds its way through the federal Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy process, and that deeper cuts must be made soon.


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-- Phil Willon in Riverside

Photo: A welcome sign on 6th Street greets visitors in San Bernardino. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times