About 360 city employees faced layoffs Thursday as the dawn of the new fiscal year means that Los Angeles leaders would have to adhere to a deficit-reduction plan that includes hundreds of pink slips.
A last-ditch effort by three City Council members to avoid layoffs, and to accept some concessions from the Coalition of Los Angeles City Unions instead, fell on deaf ears as L.A.'s budget chief stated that even more layoffs were likely.
City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana said “I wish I could guarantee that the only number of layoffs we're going to have is 360. I wish I could do that, but I can't. The reality is that, unfortunately, we're probably going to see more layoffs … The economy is, unfortunately, not moving in the robust direction that we want to see.''
He called a slice of projected revenues for the new fiscal year — $64 million — “soft,” meaning they might or might not come. If the cash doesn't come through, another 1,000 cuts were likely in October, Santana said.
Union leaders and council members fought over the first round of layoffs, with labor organizers reminding the council that the layoffs would trigger near six-percent raises for many city employees under a contract clause. The layoffs would actually cost the city more — $27 million — than they would save, at least initially.
But as Santana pointed out, they cuts were just an initial piece of the deficit-reduction pie. The layoff-laden budget was approved in spring order to pare about $485 million red ink for the year.
-With reporting from City News Service. Got news? Email us.