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Long Lines for City Hall’s Sweet ERIP Deal . . .

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.

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17 Responses to Long Lines for City Hall’s Sweet ERIP Deal . . .

  1. Anonymous says:

    I will help change things – may I have some ideas of how to go about it, first. I am just a resident, home owner, voter and taxpayer – and
    a retiree.
    I know a lot of us are mad. Is prayer enough? What else should we be doing besides voting in the next election (not long) and electing brand new people to the other half of the City Council.
    We need to get practical. “MAD” just is not going to hack it. We need to change the City Charter. We are no longer qualified to be called a “modern American Metropolis” We are a bunch
    of losers waiting for someone else to accomplish a miracle. I don’t really believe in miracles
    when things are this rotten. Teddy Howell

  2. David in Tarzana says:

    I just took a quick look at the LONG list of filers for ERIP. Mayor Tony was right. It looks like a bunch of “dead wood” to me.
    Seriously, how can that much experience and expertise be removed at one shot from the the city’s workforce and there not be some major implications in safety and service?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ron’s list is from the 4th. I hear they’ve now got their 2400 names. I’d like to see that complete list.

  4. meterman says:

    I personally know some of those on the list. They are tired of the mismanagement within their agencies. They have been diligent and loyal city employees who have worked hard for many years. I would not classify them as “dead wood” and I’m going to miss them helping me weekly. The grass is not greener but they do recognize a good deal when they see it.

  5. David in Tarzana says:

    Please know that “dead wood” were not my words. Those were the words of Mayor Antonio Villar a few months back when he first began selling the ERIP proposal as the salvation for Los Angeles’ budget deficits.

  6. David in Tarzana says:

    Please know that “dead wood” were not my words. Those were the words of Mayor Antonio Villar a few months back when he first began selling the ERIP proposal as the salvation for Los Angeles’ budget deficits.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Tony V. is the deadwood, deadhead, deadidea politician we need to rid ourselves of.
    The drums of recall beat. Ron, why doesn’t SLAP carry out a petition drive to recall the Mayor AND cut the salaries in half?

  8. InsideOpinion says:

    The backfilling of positions is *supposed* to be limited to 7% of the total in the next fiscal year. Everyone’s job is to hold the City to that percentage; otherwise, the list of exceptions will grow. There should be not one exception. The place to look at that will be the proposed budget for next year.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’m taking ERIP, not because I wanted to, but due to poor management that has no work for older employees. While this incompetent department head will never be fired, many employees who don’t want to collect paychecks for doing so little are leaving. There is more honesty in such people than such management. The city will eventually pay the price for ignoring serious problems created by crooks as managers.

  10. Chris Rowe says:

    I read the ERIP document with sadness. The employees of this City do not all make high incomes. And the ones that do – some of them actually might deserve what they are paid.
    I know someone on this list. I met this person thorugh a major project to protect this City. This person is highly qualified, and I am sorry to see him go.
    But like the Neighborhood Councils,SLAP,LANC, VANC, and the LADWP Committee that are trying to make a difference,these are City employees. They cannot speak up even when they know that community members are right.
    I remember walking out of a LADWP Commissioner’s meeting one day. There was a sea of people in the outer room. I remember a few saying that I made some pretty good points. They didn’t say which ones.
    So this post of mine is dedicated to the person that I know that is retiring, and to all of those employees in the City that I have met who work very hard at their jobs to do the best job they can to serve this City.

  11. LA Moderator says:

    For what it’s worth, after talking to another valuable City employee on the list, it was pointed out that some of those early filers may end up rescinding their request.
    Apparently, you need to file in order to calculate the package – whether or not you intend to actually take the ERIP. And even those who do, some may decide that after figuring in Social Security, that it’s better to wait.

  12. Anonymous says:

    For each person who rescinds, there are several waiting to get in.

  13. richard says:

    i would like to see a updated list for erip. if possible.

  14. Dick Platkin says:

    Since the city’s elected officials would not pursue the real sources of money, such as the many sweet deals they cut for large real estate developers so often investigated by the LA Weekly, as well as the Federal government’s high priority budget items (defense — over $1 billion per year, bailouts — estimated at between $12-19 trillion), they had no choice but to cut city staff and programs. Whether they cut among older employees through a golden handshake or younger employees through layoffs, the drastic reductions in services were inevitable.
    Future historians, and a few at present, will note that this hollowing out of the country’s infrastructure was too steep a price to pay for the banksters and for 700 foreign military bases and two foreign wars.
    Dick Platkin (

  15. LA Sinecure says:

    Ron is wrong – there will be no backfilling of those position vacated be those taking the ERIP. The salary savings occurs when those positions go unfilled. Get your facts right – our office lost 6 of 23 people – those positions are not going to be filled and those of us staying will have to pick up the work.
    Good luck City of Los Angeles getting services. The real problem are the political thieves that run this City.

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