And on the fifth day, they rested.
It's a wild notion: Would the Los Angeles City Council really go so far as to cut an entire day out of the workweek for all city-run agencies? The LA Daily News thinks it's a real possibility, and Councilman Bernard Parks is having the Budget and Finance Committee take a good hard look at it, what with the $40 million city deficit and all.
(So… We're going to briefly make this a selfish thing and complain about how we already can't get a hold of L.A. city politicians, attorneys and myriad secretaries — and this would mean another whole day of “no comments.” God freaking dammit. OK we're done.)
City Councilmembers had some selfish worries of their own yesterday: Like, uh, when are we supposed to meet?
Councilmembers currently gather 'round the City Hall campfire on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays — a schedule that wouldn't mesh well with the proposed four-day week. City Clerk June Lagmay says “it could impact what happens when the mayor vetoes a measure and other matters affecting council files.”
'Cause lord knows these guys wouldn't come to work on a day they didn't have to. They can't even remember to attend meetings as is. See “L.A. City Council Meeting Canceled Because Members Jose Huizar, Paul Koretz Were Late; Others Were Known No-Shows.”
Hopefully councilmembers at least get it together to vote on a budget-cut option by January 30 — Parks told the Daily News that's the last possible day to vote if the four-day deal is to become reality. (All $40 million must be recovered by the end of the fiscal year in June.)
From the Daily News:
The city is already requiring workers to take 26 furlough days this year, but now is looking at adding 10 more days, along with shutting many city agencies for one day a week. The committee delayed action Monday on imposing those additional furloughs, and Parks asked for a report back on what it would mean to shut down one day a week.
“The problem is we will only have enough workers for a four-day week,” Parks said. “And, we want it coordinated so all the agencies are working together on this.”
Problem? What problem! We'll get over you not answering our calls — that hardly happens anyway — and we'll be positively soaring down the freeway when rush hour hits. The 30,000 to 50,000 city workers who clog that shit up on the daily will be happily at home sipping po-boy “furlough” vegetable soup while the rest of us live it up on the 405 for a traffic-less (if slightly less convenient service-wise, and perhaps unpoliced) Friday.
What comes next in the Daily News piece is mostly just a plunge into the pit of whiny hyenas, each trying to complain the loudest about his or her respective department and its obvious superiority to the rest.
• Animal Services General Manager Brenda Barnette “said it will mean euthanizing more animals and even more limited kennel space.”
• Chief Deputy Bill Carter in the City Attorney's Office “said any more cuts will mean reductions in the number of prosecutors his office can put out to staff the courts.” He told the council: “At some point the City Council has to decide how important criminal prosecution is. Whatever else you do to the City Attorney's Office, I hope you understand it comes from criminal prosecutions.”
• Fire Department Chief Millage Peaks: “Any further cuts will debilitate our ability to deal with public safety.”
• Gerald Chaleff, special assistant to the Police Department chief: “We have been told we have to absorb [$9 million in] uniform allowances. We have been meeting $25 million in other expenses. If the uniform allowance is not included, we show a surplus for this year.”
• Department of Planning Director Michael LoGrande “said his office might be required to abandon all work on community plans, seven of which are near completion, through this fiscal year.” He said: “We are coming up to the most intense staff involvement. And if we delay them further, we risk having to do more environmental studies work.”
Like we said, boo-hoos all around. But they're just spoiled: L.A. politicians certainly aren't the first geniuses to test out a four-day city schedule. In fact, in the lot of poor-as-hell California cities, we're sort of the last to the party:
Several cities around Los Angeles close offices on Fridays or alternate Fridays to reduce their overall costs. The state last year had a period when several government offices were closed on Fridays and the Superior Courts were closed on Wednesdays.