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L.A.'s Transportation Department Likely to See 10% Reduction in Staffing

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Photo by Daquella manera via Flickr

Photo by Daquella manera via Flickr
In a move to alleviate a $400 million-plus budget deficit, the Los Angeles City Council earlier this year approved a program allowing 2,400 employees to retire early. However, ERIP (Early Retirement Incentive Program), as it's called around city hall, is going to turn the city into "swiss cheese," according to the city's top Personnel Manager. 159 Department of Transportation (LADOT) employees have applied for ERIP, but at this point, it is unknown how many will be approved. In any case, department officials are expecting a loss of about 10% of the workforce.

"Since the Personnel Department and LACERS are still working on the ERIP process which will take several months, we don't have an exact number of who (meaning specific job classifications) will be leaving LADOT at this time," explained Bruce Gillman of LADOT in an e-mail to LAist.

"Additionally, other staff have already or will retire independent of ERIP and per City direction, no backfills or replacements are anticipated for either ERIP participants, other retirees or staff departures in general," Gillman continued.

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What does that mean? Let's say 20 parking enforcement officers retire--there's a chance they will not be replaced, thus less tickets handed out (thousands cheer), but also less traffic direction and expeditious street closures. Let's say 10 traffic engineers who monitor traffic in real time to keep rush hour moving as fast as possible retire--will we be looking at worse commute times? That may sound dramatic, but that reality is possible. And if that happens, LADOT will have to learn to work learner and meaner (perhaps not a bad thing?).

In addition to major staff reductions, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Neighborhood Councils and LADOT is on hold. At meeting this past Saturday, General Manager Rita Robinson explained "that at this point in time, and with the uncertainty of what resources may or may not be available in the near future, we did not want to make any promises that could not be fulfilled," explained Gillman. The MOU was meant to help better communications between the LADOT and community via Neighborhood Councils.

Background: The Exodus: 2,400 City of L.A. Employees Prepare to Retire