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City Hall’s Failure: Hard Data on How Little They Have Done to Fix the Budget Deficit

So nearly three years into the financial crisis, it’s fair to ask what have the mayor and City Council done to solve the problem caused by wages and benefits, including pensions and lifetime health care, that account for more than three-quarters of city cost.

We know that the civilian work force has taken most of the pain through furloughs, which are days off without pay, and that the structural deficits grow larger each year going forward  — $350 million or more next year — even with some pressure relieved by increases in the value of pension fund assets

Without offering her own narrative, Controller Wendy Greuel released charts Tuesday showing how the city work force — civilian, police and fire but not DWP, Airports or Harbor — has fluctuated since 2003, the middle of James Hahn’s term, through today.

She also released the work schedules of city workers by department (LACITY-Schedules.pdf).

The chart shows of the 37,000 workers, only 13,256 work a normal 5-day, 40-hour week like nearly everybody who pays their salaries. Nearly 9,000 work nine days out of 10 for a total of 80 hours in the two weeks but 400 work only 72 hours.

You can download the workforce charts and analyze them for yourself (LACITY Workers.pdf).

What they show is that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa took over a civilian work force of 21,000 in July 2005 and quickly expanded it to more than 23,000 by June 2007. It is now down to 19,304 — 2,400 paid off to retire, 1,600 transferred to DWP and special funds or through open job eliminations and less than 400 laid off.

The Fire Department grew by 200 to 3,750 under the mayor and is still roughly 50 employees higher although furloughs have closed many fire stations on a rotating basis.

The trash fee that was tripled solely to hire more police has added less than 800 officers to 9,963 while the civilian LAPD work force has shrunk, forcing many of those officers into desk jobs.



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13 Responses to City Hall’s Failure: Hard Data on How Little They Have Done to Fix the Budget Deficit

  1. Walter Moore says:

    Forget the employees, look at the checks being cut to “non-profits” for dances, “anti-gang” programs, and assorted BS.
    Seriously, browse the City’s contracts page some day. It will blow your mind.
    The unions should be hammering the Clowncil over how much money they’re blowing on cronies.

  2. Nourma Skock says:

    Somebody should do an analysis of AEG’s last deal with the City, i.e. Staples Center. Is the City making money on that deal, or did we end up getting screwed?
    That information should guide the city’s decisions with regard to the whole AEG football stadium proposal.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been saying it time and again how the hell do we get State Controller John Chiang to come audit Los Angeles? Everyone knows the corruption is far greater then the City of Bell. To think the Failure of a Mayor has over 200 staffers and all those Deputy Mayors making over $125,000 including Lisa Sarno who looks after trees. We need to start a People Campaign to contact John Chiang and the FEDS. Everyone knows about it and talks about it, now its time we go into action to save our City. Forget the dumb ass politicians trying to do anything. Wendy Greuesome has been the biggest failure of a Controller this city has seen. She has failed to do her job and has become nothing more then another media whore. We have councilmembers like Huizar who thinks its more important to be at a photo op for a restaurant instead of city council with CRA issue on the agenda. Thanks to him and Koretz they didn’t meet quroum and no meeting yesterday. All total idiots!!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    If the City goes into bankruptcy, it can cut all of the golden pension contracts with the robber barrons of new century: SEIU, Police Protective League, Fire Union.
    And perhaps the bankruptcy judge could order what the Valley folks could not pull off: Breaking the City into about 6 smaller cities or boroughs. The smaller cities around Los Angeles (with the exception of Bell, Vernon and Maywood) are so much better run from a planning and quality of life perspective because they actually enforce their zoning and other quality of life laws.
    This City Hall must fall big before the people of Los Angeles can be free of the tyranny of the greedy scum of real estate developers like AEG, CIM, and others of their ilk.

  5. City Employee says:

    To be clear, those employees working ‘only 72 hours a week’ are not being paid for 80. This is a reduced workweek and these folks are effectively taking a voluntary furlough.
    And many of those that appear as a 40 hr per week schedule are actually furloughed, but our assignments and work expectations have not changed – myself included. In these cases, citizens of the city, you’re getting *more* than your money’s worth!

  6. trojan2002 says:

    The focus on city jobs is a waste of time.
    To resolve the deficit, the city officials should have been focused on facilitating private sector job growth and economic stability. Raising sales taxes, DWP rates, and trash fees, does not help.
    There should also be a focus on PROGRAMS the city runs that are a waste, not people. There should be a focus on and effort to collect taxes that are not being paid (like the parking taxes, whatever happened with that?).
    And of course, there should have been an effort to fix the city’s pension situation for future years.
    Instead, cutting a few million off city payroll accomplishes nothing except make simple minded voters feel like the mayor and Clowncil are making “tough” decisions.
    No clowns, the tough decision is being made by the 13% of the city’s unemployed who contemplate what to give up so they can feed themselves and their family’s, while you ass clowns play word games and hide from your constituents.

  7. Bob G says:

    About 5 years ago, the city was negotiating a salary increase with the unions. I can remember this coming up at the neighborhood council meeting. Board members tried to explain to Janice Hahn’s staffer that a nearly 25 percent increase wasn’t going to be sustainable.
    The city council passed the increase, so city employees continued to be paid marvelous salaries and enjoyed what is essentially job tenure. Meanwhile, the private sector fell into a deep and long recession.
    Had the City Council shown some foresight at the time, and had the system not been one in which political candidates have to scrounge for campaign funding from the same people they employ, this would have been different.
    In short, workers have a right to collective bargaining, but they don’t have a right to have their representatives on both sides of the table.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Seems the only union that has gotten a raise is the corrupt DPW Union. Quote: “trash fee that was tripled solely to hire more police has added less than 800 officers to 9,963″” This is so true but the Failure of a Mayor is having a tour of the city bs’ing those who listen saying LAPD has expanded. BULLShIT!!! Every month there are less 574 officers on the streets due to no Overtime. 154 are doing civilain work cause of hiring freeze. 90 Officers next week will start to man the jails. Why doesn’t the Mayor put his Public Safety guys there instead? The Mayor is bullshitting anyone who will listen at his town halls one tomorrow in Northeast. Officers want LAPD to STOP HIRING. They know the financial crisis and they don’t support the Mayor lying to the people. Don’t buy into his BS just so he can say he’s reached his goal of 10,000. IT WON’T HAPPEN. Every month veteran officers are retiring. Why isn’t the media reporting the facts on this issue?

  9. Anonymous says:

    As usual, the information on this blog from Ron Kaye and some of the comment writers is misleading at best. For all those salivating at the thought of a municipal bankruptcy getting rid of the so-called lavish pensions only need look at the City of Vallejo to see that it’s not all that easy to do. The legal and business costs to achieve an outcome which failed to reduce the pension obligations for current employees and retirees seem to show this path to be an uncertain one.
    As far as sticking it to the employees, they were able to achieve a significant reduction in health benefits for the years between retirement and when the retiree is Medicare eligible. In doing so, they also were able to “stick it” to the citizens in the form of vastly reduced services and to their other creditors who may only be eligible to receive 5 cents on the dollar. Congrats to them!!!
    The data constantly cited about City workers retiring at age 50 after 25 years of service with 90% of their salaries is also misleading. The only ones who can do this are some Police and Fire and these are the very people that the politicians promise to protect in many of the proposals put forth. The civilian workforce has MUCH more modest pension expectations and only then after more than 30 years service.
    As “City Employee” pointed out regarding the chart: The small number of employees shown in the 72-hour column are those who have VOLUNTARILY agreed to 72 hours work for 72 hours pay. The only benefit they are given is to be considered full-time employees for purposes of health care and vacation and sick-time accumulation. The thousands of employees who are on INVOLUNTARY furloughs are not reflected in that chart.
    Although I fail to see why Ron Kaye objects to working 80 hours over 8 or 9 days vs working 80 hours over 10 days, one of the reasons for this schedule was to comply with AQMD requirements. These schedules are designed to reduce the number of car trips and to move those trips into off-peak hours. These schedules also allow longer office hours for those facilities that deal directly with the public.

  10. City Employee 2 says:

    I’m with 6:03am. What do we need to do to get the State Controller to look at the City’s books. Enough is enough. The city’s deficit is on the backs of the employees and constituents while the Mayor and Council continue to rip all of us off. Where do we go from here? Ron, how about a crusade to get John Chiang into City Hall.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Is it not obvious that the city force has grown without any concomitant improvement in services. The usual refrain that if their numbers are’nt increased, services will decline is bogus. Call their bluff and fire those who can’t perform.

  12. Anonymous says:

    “I fail to see why Ron Kaye objects to working 80 hours over 8 or 9 days vs working 80 hours over 10 days”
    Probably because Ron has no clue what a 9/80 schedule is to begin with. Which is retarded because private companies like Raytheon and Boeing also employ it.
    Ron is a muckraker plain and simple. What else is new

  13. Anonymous says:

    City Employee 2, Ron Kaye hates you and thinks you and all the other public servants in this city are overpaid and don’t do your job. I don’t know why you’re asking him for help.

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