But Who Will Staff Libraries and Parks and Drive the Garbage Trucks
ERIP Season has finally arrived and more than 1,600 city workers (ERIP List.pdf) lined up on the first two days to take advantage of City Hall’s generous offer to allow them to retire five years early with sweetened retirement benefits.
It’s an offer they couldn’t refuse. Would you?
Even SEIU Local 721 president Bob Schoonover, the heavy duty equipment mechanic in General Services who helped negotiate the deal, couldn’t fight off the temptation to call it a day.
Nor could 130 other employees in his department or rnearly 400 in Public Works, including 30 garbage truck drivers or or 160 LAPD civilians, 120 at the Airports, 110 in Rec & Parks, 90 in the Libraries, 80 in Building and Safety, even 60 in the much smaller City Administrative Office and 50 in Information and Technology.
Undoubtedly, the number of volunteers for the Early Retirement Incentive Package will swell well beyond the 2,400 slots allotted for the costly program — costly because of the 12 percent in enhanced pensions, $15,000 each in cash, and all the unused vacation time, sick time, comp time and other payouts due workers who retire.
None of the promised payroll savings will even start to occur until after the first of the year and even then, the savings will be diminished by all the people who get promoted into the senior positions held by the retirees and all the backfilling of “mission critical” jobs that managers will plead for.
The only certainties are that libraries will open late on Fridays and there won’t be many librarians to help the public, that parks programs will be reduced, housing violations will go uncited, planning documents go unwritten, a vast array of public services undelivered
I can only wonder if the tripled trash fee imposed on home owners in the name of “full cost recovery” (the one that wasn’t used solely to hire more cops as promised) will be reduced now that 150 Sanitation workers have asked for early retirement and other might soon join them.
Understand that we are now five months into the fiscal year and still have a $400 million deficit, nearly 10 percent of the operating budget. Almost no money has been saved, spending still exceeds revenue by at least a million dollars a day, and even with the theoretical savings from ERIP and new contracts with police and civilian workers, there is still a paper deficit of more than $100 million.
The mayor and the City Council, once again on vacation this week from
their burdensome duties as the nation’s highest-paid municipal
officials, are boasting about what a great job they are doing when
their only recent achievement is an ineffective ban on declawing cats.
Don’t expect them to ever take responsibility for what they have
wrought, to streamline city government to basic services, to provide a
detailed analysis of the actual impact on public services.
They are addicted to living high at the public expense, selling out the
public interest to the special interests who keep them in office and
hiding the truth from the people who pay the bills.
They will squeeze every cent they can out of the DWP with its soaring
rates for water and power. They will sell off the parking structures to
buy a little time. They will mortgage for the city’s future for years
to come even as the wave of debts grows bigger and bigger, insuring
that even more cuts in public services become necessary next year and
for years to come.
The City of Angels is going to Hell and we are all just bystanders watching it happen as if there was nothing we could about it.