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City of Maywood to disband city services

June 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Budget constraints are pushing the city of Maywood to lay off most of its city employees, including the police department.The Maywood City Council is calling it a "restructuring," saying that it was forced to make the difficult decision. However, opponents are saying that the city council is doing the residents of Maywood a major disservice.

In an unprecedented move Monday night, the Maywood City Council adopted a controversial plan to eliminate the 86-year-old Maywood Police Department and layoff all city employees and contract out all of its municipal services. Only elected officials and a couple of top city positions will remain.

"It's outrageous. The problem is misuse of funds, is the way I see it," said Maywood resident Enrique Curiel.

"The city is not going to close down, and the city will continue to operate. In a different manner, but it's going to continue being there. As a matter of fact, we offer a lot of our services now on a contract basis," said Maywood City Councilmember Felipe Aguirre.

About 30 police officers and nearly 24 full-time city employees and a handful of part-time workers will lose their jobs.

Beginning July 1, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department will patrol the 1.2-square-mile city, and the neighboring city of Bell is expected to take over other municipal services such as parks and recreation, finance and records management.

City officials say they were forced to take the drastic step after Maywood lost its insurance and workers compensation. The city faces a $450,000 deficit, and it can't get insurance because it has a history of lawsuits, including many that involve the police department.

Critics say that it's the council's own fault since it didn't meet key requirements.

"They failed to hire Maywood's city manager, and they failed to sign the contract for Cudahy and they're blaming everybody else," said Maywood resident Sandra Orozco.

Many in the city of 45,000 don't understand exactly what's going on, but those at the police department are keenly aware. June 30 at midnight, they'll be closing their doors for good.

"I have never, ever heard of something to this magnitude taking place in that short of a period," said Maywood Police Department Cpt. Herb Aguirre.

The police department now has just days to make that transition to the sheriff's department.


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