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Possible hiring freeze for L.A. police

May 14, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The city of Los Angeles may resort to a hiring freeze for police and firefighters to balance the 2009-2010 city budget.The City Council's Budget and Finance Committee approved a plan Wednesday to fire 800 employees, require all city employees to take 26 furlough days during the year, and put an end to the city's police and fire hiring plans. The steps were outlined by chief legislative analyst, Gerry Miller, as a way to reduce a $326 million gap in the budget.

The city budget has a total deficit of $530 million, but $204 million of that can be remedied through other expense reductions, according to Miller.

The idea is a stark contrast to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Police Chief William Bratton's plan to increase the Los Angeles Police Department by 1,000 officers. Chief Bratton says a hiring freeze would reverse the city's falling crime rates.

Councilman Greig Smith argued the city shouldn't maintain aggressive hiring in the LAPD while other city employees are being furloughed or laid off.

Mayor Villaraigosa has put forward an alternate plan that would provide specific employees with a one-time check for 40 percent of their salary.

Members of the public will have an opportunity to voice their concerns when the full City Council begins deliberations Monday morning.

City News Service contributed to this story.

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