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Mayor gets heat for planning deeper job cuts

February 12, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The mayor said he's planning deeper cuts to help offset the current budget crisis, but other officials say not so fast.This is the worst budget crisis in L.A.'s history, and the mayor is saying he can't fix those problems without promising 1,200 to 2,000 additional layoffs, in addition to the 1,000 layoffs he announced just last week.

It's not sitting well with some city council members.

"It's only been 30 days since he announced his 1,000 job cuts, and I don't know that anything has changed," said L.A. City Councilmember Richard Alarcon.

The mayor said the city could avoid some layoffs if city employees would agree to more pay cuts and contribute more to their pension funds.

"If we all took a five percent cut, it would generate 150 of the 480 million. If we took 10 percent, that would be 300 million," said the mayor.

"I think it's typical of this mayor, who likes to negotiate through the media. We still have that same position. He's jumping ahead of himself right now. We already gave him what he needed last summer to fix the problem," said SEIU 721 member Art Sweatman.

The mayor has already taken a 16-percent pay cut and put his staff on furloughs. Some council members have also taken steps to help balance the budget. City attorney Carmen Trutanich's office is a target with 100 proposed layoffs.

"When you cut 100 bodies from a law firm, you cut the ability to defend the city of Los Angeles," said Trutanich.

With the city's $212 million budget shortfall growing by the day and threatening the city's credit rating, the mayor says he has to act now.

"I am the chief executive of the city, and I will make these tough decisions even if I have to make them alone," said the mayor.

Meanwhile, L.A. City Council defied the mayor and unanimously voted Friday to spend $1 million of its discretionary fund on local projects rather than put that money into the city's emergency reserve fund.