L.A. City Hall. Credit: City of Los Angeles.

City Council Declares Fiscal Emergency; City Employees Face Buyouts, Furloughs

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Los Angeles has lost a lot of money while the economy has been shut down. Yesterday, the City Council declared a fiscal emergency. Pending approval from Mayor Eric Garcetti, this move will result in the furlough of 15,000 city employees starting Oct. 11.

The city is simultaneously losing money — think of all the missed sales and hotel taxes, parking ticket fees and revenue generated by city-administered operations like the L.A. Zoo — and spending money to deal with COVID-19. According to the city administrative officer’s staff, revenues for the 2021 fiscal year could drop anywhere from $45 million to $409 million below the estimated $6.68 billion. City Administrative Officer Richard Llewellyn said the city has likely lost over $50 million so far.

In this new plan, some city employees would be required to take up to 18 days off work from Oct. 1, 2020, through June 20, 2021, saving the city about $104.2 million. Employees not subject to furlough include first responders, sanitation workers, librarians and Department of Building and Safety employees. Additionally, another 1,280 employees may take early retirement buyouts, which could save the city another $13 million.

Labor union representatives are not happy about the furloughs and say they’ll fight this plan.

“We can’t hope that we can reopen negotiations with labor, and within a month, get a solution that is going to save hundreds of millions of dollars,” said L.A. City Councilmember Paul Krekorian. “It’s unrealistic and we have to do the realistic thing of acting on these furloughs so that we don’t have to act on worse-(case) scenarios in a few months, because I can guarantee you that if we don’t, we will be faced with choices that are much harder.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the city has not declared a similar fiscal emergency since 2012, and that time, it was due to the recession.

Los Angeleno