Mayor: City employees prepare for layoffs

LOS ANGELES It is not a layoff order, but the mayor issued a statement Wednesday saying that department managers should prepare for layoffs.

"I am not worried about a layoff. I am a student right now and I work part time. Work is not a priority in my life," said Carl Amato, part-time film monitor.

Currently the city employees 40,000 workers represent many areas of the work force and they make the city run.

Over half are represented by unions and the Coalition of L.A. City Unions. The group said Wednesday that they are doing every thing they can to head off furloughs.

"We are very concerned because our members live in the city of Los Angeles. We are concerned about crime. We want to make sure that if our house catches on fire that somebody will be there to make sure that it doesn't burn down. Our children are also using the libraries which are very important. Our children are using the parks and those are very important. That is why we are fighting so hard to try to avert layoffs," said Barbara Maynard, Coalition of L.A. City Unions.

The mayor's pledge to add more police to the LAPD complicates the city's budget problem. Hiring hundreds of expensive cops while laying off not so costly librarians, park workers and custodians is going to be a tough trick.

Councilman Jack Weiss says that it is not just cops, firefighters have to be protected as well.

"The pain is going to have to be spread around. Cops not only should they not be laid off, we are hiring more cops. We have a chance of a lifetime to create a force of over 10,000 cops. I want to protect the fire department. They are out there protecting all of us. This could be another tremendous brush fire season. I want to protect firefighters and cops," said Councilman Weiss.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced a hiring freeze. "In order to maintain our commitment to expanding public safety and providing essential city services, it is only prudent to prepare ourselves for the tough actions which may be necessary in the budget ahead," Villaraigosa said.

City employees have not been subjected to layoffs since 1983.

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