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Over 1,800 City Jobs, Including 951 LAPD Officers, Could Be Cut Under New Budget Proposal

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The city of Los Angeles is heading into the holiday season facing an enormous revenue shortfall, and a new report recommends eliminating more than 1,800 city jobs, including 951 sworn police officer positions.

In a Financial Status Report released Friday, budget analysts outlined a $675 million revenue shortfall that is likely to widen in the coming months.

City Administrative Officer Rich Llewellyn detailed additional proposals to help bridge the gap, including cuts to nearly every city department.

“These reductions are difficult and will negatively impact City services,” the report acknowledged. “The need for immediate action, however, is critical to address the magnitude of this budget gap.”

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HOW DID WE GET HERE?

The fiscal situation has gone from bad to worse as 2020 has unfolded.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate the tax base, L.A.’s spending on COVID-19 response isn’t slowing down. The city has already dug deep into reserves, and risks a damaging hit to its credit rating as more emergency funding is withdrawn.

The City Administrative Officer previously described a worst-case scenario of L.A. falling $600 million in the hole in the fiscal year that began July 1.

The Mayor has said layoffs may be necessary. In September, Garcetti asked department managers to find savings of 3% across the board, and to identify “non-critical” services and positions that could be eliminated.

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After talks with SEIU and other labor unions, the city agreed to delay partial furloughs amounting to a 10% pay cut for close to 16,000 civilian city workers. Those are now slated to take effect in January.

City leaders are also asking some public employee unions to delay planned raises, including a pay bump of 2% for civilian workers and 3.25% for police officers starting next month.

But the union representing police officers has so far spurned negotiations with the city, arguing the LAPD already sacrificed enough in 2020 after the council voted to reallocate $150 million in department funding amid protests over police killings. Chief Michel Moore told reporters in a video Q&A this week that further cuts to his department “would be devastating to the safety of the city.”

City Councilmember Mike Bonin blamed the union representing LAPD officers for declining to budge on raises and benefits that they negotiated in 2019, pre-COVID, when the financial picture was rosier. The LAPPL could mitigate job losses by reducing or deferring raises, Bonin said.

"The refusal to come to the table has already caused a reduction in police patrols," Bonin said. "We are paying more for fewer officers and fewer patrols. We can either reverse that dynamic or double down on it."

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The Mayor and City Council are still hoping for a bailout from Congress, but in the meantime say deep cuts to services and layoffs are likely their only recourse.

This story was last updated at 3:10 PM on Friday.

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