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Los Angeles Layoff Follies

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The city is struggling with unprecedented budget problems, but saving money through getting rid of workers is more complicated than it looks.

Mayor Villaraigosa is trying to use his powers as the city's chief exec to nix 1,000 city workers, but the city attorney's office says it ain't that easy. The L.A. Times has more:

A day after Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ordered the elimination of 1,000 jobs to address the city's budget crisis, Chief Deputy City Atty. Bill Carter wrote a memo stating the mayor does not have authority under the City Charter "on his own to order layoffs......[City Attorney Carmen] Trutanich has strenuously opposed City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana's proposal to eliminate 100 positions in the city attorney's office as part of the plan to cut 1,000 jobs from the city's rolls....Because Trutanich is an elected official, Carter wrote, "the mayor's limited authority under the Charter does not extend to this office or other elected offices."

The mayor stepped where the City Council feared to tread earlier this week.

After struggling for eight hours to counter a rapidly growing budget shortfall, the Los Angeles City Council put off a decision to cut 1,000 jobs Wednesday and, through other actions, managed to add $4 million to the problem.Unable to take more straightforward action on a shortfall that has grown to $212 million this year, the council voted to seek another list of possible job cuts and, after hearing pleas from a chamber packed with protesting employees and residents, promised not to act on layoffs for 30 days.... City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana also voiced dismay, saying that he fears that Wall Street rating agencies will respond by downgrading the city's bond rating -- hiking the cost of borrowing and adding to the burden on taxpayers. The Coalition of L.A. City Unions hailed the series of votes as a victory both for its 22,000 members and for city residents....

In other city employee and budget news, school supe Ramon Cortines encourages his unionized workers to take unpaid furlough days to ease the cash crunch, though in the end he decided to show up for work on his planned furlough Monday anyway--but he won't draw his pay.

The image associated with this post was taken by Flickr user Mr. Littlehand. It was used under user Creative Commons license.

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