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Villaraigosa's Staff: Big, and Not Shrinking

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Mayor Villaraigosa has an office staff more than 70 percent larger than his predecessor James Hahn.

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The Daily News has a detailed breakdown and comparison of the Mayor's offices costs, extent, and responsibilities:

Antonio Villaraigosa has expanded the staff of the mayor's office to 206 people - including deputy mayors and managers, assistants and analysts - in moves his aides say are needed to deal with the city's complex problems.

It has grown to be the largest mayoral staff in Los Angeles history, dwarfing that of former Mayor James Hahn, who had 121 employees, and former Mayor Richard Riordan, with 114.

Staff salaries account for $7.4 million of the $25.02 million budget for the mayor's office....

The growth of the mayor's office comes at a time when the city is looking to lay off workers - possibly as many as 1,700 this year - and when he has asked employees to take pay cuts.

Villaraigosa has reduced his own salary by 16 percent over the past two years....

How is this in comparison with other big cities?

Los Angeles is the nation's second most populous city, with 3.8 million residents - 2.5 percent more than when Hahn replaced Riordan in 2001. New York is No. 1 with 8.4 million, Chicago No. 3 with 2.9 million, San Francisco is No. 12 with 815,000.

So Villaraigosa's office has 53.8 employees per million residents. That ratio is similar to New York's (52.6) and San Francisco's (58.9) but higher than Chicago's (23.8).

A lot of the growth in employees based in the mayor's office is because of new responsibilities it took on recently:

In Los Angeles, the mayor asked for and was given responsibility by the City Council over the anti-gang programs, which resulted in the addition of 37 people to his staff. Some of those were transferred from other city departments.

The mayor's $25.02 million budget is down from last year's $25.7 million but reflects a dramatic increase from 2008 to 2009, when it went from $9 million to $25 million as the mayor absorbed the anti-gang program as well as the departments of Environmental Affairs and Human Services.

The article goes on to breakdown many of the employee numbers to their specific function, including "16 staff members assigned to lobbying in Washington, D.C., and Sacramento ."

The L.A. Times notes that Villaraigosa is only the 20th top earning city official in L.A.

Image by Flickr user BBCworldservice. Used under user Creative Commons license.

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