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City Council to cut 761 jobs in new budget

May 17, 2010 12:40:04 AM PDT
More than 700 L.A. city employees will lose their jobs come July if unions representing those workers don't come up with concessions. The Los Angeles City Council Monday night approved a nearly $7-billion budget for the next fiscal year.The budget is designed to reduce the city's $485-million deficit, but it will likely mean the loss of hundreds of jobs beginning July 1 and possibly hundreds more this fall, if the employee unions aren't willing to accept more concessions.

An 11-hour marathon meeting ended with the city council voting 11 to 4 in favor of cutting 761 positions and furloughing thousands of others by July 1 unless the unions representing city employees can make about $100 million in concessions.

"We don't think this is a year in which we won't get any further concessions with our unions," said Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti.

Concessions include pay cuts, increases in medical and pension contributions and elimination of bonuses within the next month and a half to save jobs and prevent drastic service reductions. And hundreds more layoffs could come on October 1 if the city doesn't meet projected revenues.

"If, during the year we get no money from our parking revenues from the meters, we would have as many as another 700 to 800 layoffs, maybe as many as 1,000, but we would have another series of layoffs," said Garcetti.

By giving up some discretionary funds and supporting a $5 increase in parking fines, the council averted the closure of an animal shelter and restored funding for gang-intervention programs.

Hours before the vote, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa sent a letter urging the council to wait until Friday before approving a budget in hopes that a deal could be reached with the unions before then. But the council ignored the request.

The $6.7-billion budget will mean cuts to childcare workers positions, shorter library hours and fewer trees will be trimmed, but it won't mean higher taxes for city residents.

"We noted this is a recession, this was not a time that we could raise taxes. It would be wrong to do so," said Garcetti.

The employee unions had supported Councilman Herb Wesson's plan that called for a budget without layoffs and furloughs. That plan did not pass.