"The projected deficit at the start of the Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) budget process was $16.4 million. In order to pass a balanced budget as required by the City Charter, the City is looking for ways to increase revenue, decrease expenses, and change how we provide some of our services to more efficient models. Even with these efforts, given the size of the deficit we are facing, the budget will need to propose downsizing our workforce even further," Mr. West writes in a "Dear City Employees" email.
It states that even if city management [and ultimately the Council] reach agreement with the International Ass'n of Machinists on pension changes, this "would not entirely preclude the need for continued downsizing of the City's workforce."
The Council that will decide this will include at least one new Councilmembers, Al Austin in the 8th Council district, whose election was backed by organized labor. The 4th district Councilmember will be either Daryl Supernaw, who has taken no political action committee funds, or incumbent Councilman Patrick O'Donnell, who is backed by organized labor political action committees; the outcome will be decided by voters in a June 5 runoff.
Dear City Employees:
It is once again that time of the year when the budget for the upcoming fiscal year is under development and will soon be presented to the Mayor and City Council. As I have done in past years, I want to take this opportunity to keep you informed about our financial situation and the challenges ahead.
While the economic situation in California and the nation is beginning to show some signs of improvement in areas of the private sector, the recovery for governmental agencies continues to be very slow. City revenue streams that support many of the services the City provides continue to be down or grow more slowly than expenses. In addition, funding for Redevelopment was also taken away by the State. This resulted in layoffs that affected many City departments and impacted employees throughout the City’s workforce.
On the bright side, last year, a number of our employee organizations (Police Officers Association, Firefighters Association, City Attorneys Association and City Prosecutors Association) agreed to contract amendments that included pension reform, resulting in considerable current and future savings to help address our financial challenges. In addition, the employee organizations representing Lifeguards, Confidential, Engineering and Management employees have also agreed to pension reform for new employees.
The projected deficit at the start of the Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) budget process was $16.4 million. In order to pass a balanced budget as required by the City Charter, the City is looking for ways to increase revenue, decrease expenses, and change how we provide some of our services to more efficient models. Even with these efforts, given the size of the deficit we are facing, the budget will need to propose downsizing our workforce even further.
The City continues to be in discussions with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, our largest employee organization, on pension reform. We remain very optimistic that an agreement could be reached in sufficient time to lessen the effect of the deficit projected for Fiscal Year 13, as well as in future years. While these savings would not entirely preclude the need for continued downsizing of the City’s workforce, they would help significantly, both now and in the future.
We are currently working to put together informational meetings for employees to better understand how they might be affected by an Order of Layoff, including "bumping rights" for those with Classified service. These meetings will be hosted by our Human Resources Department and will also include information on resources that are available to assist employees, such as our Workforce Development Bureau and retirement information. Departments will be notified once the dates, times and locations for these meetings have been finalized. I understand the effects and hardships these continuing reductions have placed on our departments and employees, and thank you for your continued support and willingness to work together to serve the City of Long Beach.