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The City Ax Begins to Cut

The budget ax is falling on 542 city jobs, with thousands more cuts likely to come.

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Details from the L.A. Times:

Pink slips will soon be on their way to Los Angeles city workers now that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and his general managers have finalized the first list of 542 positions slated for elimination.

In a memo to 13 general managers Wednesday, Villaraigosa's chief of staff, Jeff Carr, ordered each agency head to immediately sign off on the proposed layoff list for his or her department, and said he expected "full cooperation" with the directive. The move is intended to help close the city's $212-million budget shortfall this fiscal year and help shrink next year's $485-million gap....

The initial list includes the elimination of 89 child-care workers in the parks department, more than 100 messengers, clerks and librarians in the library department, and about 50 tree surgeons in the bureau of street services....Many of those job eliminations won't happen until July 1, however, because the workers are protected by an agreement struck last year between city leaders and the Coalition of L.A. City Unions.....

The mayor plans to outline the 3,000 additional job cuts when he presents next year's budget, which is due next month.

Ron Kaye sees lack of thoughtful leadership behind the job-cut mentality:

You can ask any of the department heads, all 65 of them, whether there has been a clear direction given them on how to reduce spending or whose job to eliminate. The only direction they are getting from the mayor's office is they prove their obedience or they'll be fired.

It's only dawned on the Council now that they and the mayor have not provided any direction other than cut, cut, and cut and then berated them and threatened them with dismissal because services are being slashed.

What could they have thought was going to happen when they protected 75 percent of the work force from elimination and ordered staffing in parks, libraries, planning, building and safety and most other departments cut in half.

Of all the promises the mayor has broken in his life, the most destructive is the one he made a year ago about cutting city staff surgically, not with a meat cleaver.

In fact, they took a shotgun to it and let anyone retire who wanted to with a sweetheart deal and then fired off a few more shells in any direction and called it a layoff plan.

Past City of Angles blogging on the city's budget crisis here and here.

(Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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