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City layoffs announced ahead of mayor's speech

April 19, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is warning of more layoffs as the city copes with a mounting budget deficit. The mayor has a plan to reduce spending.Mayor Villaraigosa is announcing the elimination of approximately 3,500 positions when he reveals his new budget Tuesday in his annual State of the City address. The city is facing a $485-million deficit next year.

Villaraigosa announced Monday his appointment of a new leader for the embattled Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Villaraigosa began his day by giving his first deputy mayor a new job. A few hours later Villaraigosa announced the elimination of 3,546 city positions, at least 750 of them to be layoffs.

Positions eliminated will include 54 Los Angeles security officers and Los Angeles General Services Police officers. Though there is consideration of putting those officers' jobs in the L.A. Police Dept. budget.

Three-hundred-twenty-eight jobs will be eliminated at city libraries, which have already had hours cut and which have been closed on Sundays.

Tony Fan is a frequent user of the Los Angeles Central Library.

"If they cut down hours people will get discouraged," said Fan. "It's going to be a huge impact."

Ursula Aldana says it will definitely have a huge impact on her life.

"I'm a grad student, I have two little ones and use it all the time, it's sort of unfortunate," said Aldana.

It is also unfortunate for hundreds of city employees. The biggest hit is in the city's General Services Department, with 487 positions eliminated.

General Services includes everything from security guards and building maintenance to parking attendants in the city garages.

Then there is the L.A. Library Dept., with 328 lost jobs. The Dept. of Recreation and Parks include 413 lost jobs.

The Bureau of Street Services is targeted for 364 jobs that will be lost.

Meantime the mayor appointed First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner as the new interim general manager of the Department of Water and Power. Beutner is a former partner in a global services company.

The DWP has been in a prolonged fight with the city over the size of its rate increases and transferring $73 million to the city.

"In his new position, I've tasked Austin to immediately perform a top to bottom financial and operational review of the department," said Villaraigosa.

"We have to work with those folks at DWP and make sure to remind them that they serve the community," said Beutner. "That's what they do, DWP is not an island to itself."

The mayor will officially release his budget Tuesday. It will come out after his State of the City message. Both come as the city faces its worst financial crisis in modern history.


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