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.