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Furloughs Might Save Us $62M This Year, Won't Save Our Asses in the Long-Term

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The City of Los Angeles will save a projected $62 million this fiscal year by implementing mandatory employee furlough days, and while these furloughs mean a successful short-term solution to our budget woes, they won't help much in the long run.City Controller Wendy Greuel released a report today detailing the second quarter savings from each of the City's departments as a result of furloughs. In the first quarter, L.A. realized $17.3 million in savings due to furloughs, and in the second, $14.9 million. The decreased from quarter to quarter is attributed to "recently approved employee contracts, which exempted certain employees from furloughs."

Furloughs help with cash flow right now, but Greuel says "they do not address the long term structural problems that create the City's budget deficit and they are very detrimental to workforce productivity when used extensively." Basically, furloughs are a bandaid on a wound that needs some serious attention, and, bonus: If you keep making employees take unpaid days off, they start to not like their jobs.

Which departments generously surrendered the most money back to the City's coffers by not working? The Controller breaks it down:

- Police Department - $8.56 million
- City Attorney - $4.12 million
- General Services - $3.40 million
- Bureau of Street Services - $3.16 million

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Many employees of the City face 16 furlough days a year, and last quarter 9,772 employees faced mandatory furloughs, while 2,630 participated voluntarily. According to the accompanying memo issued today by Greuel, though some believe that "in light of the recent parking lot fiasco" those employees should have to take another 5-10 furlough days, Greuel suggests doing so might be more trouble than its worth.