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Villaraigosa Shuts Down 2 City Departments, Wants All City Employees to Take Pay Cuts
Photo by Salina Canizales via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
When the going gets rough... Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today took the initiative to shut down two city departments, slashing 52 positions and saving $3.2 million from the city's coffers, currently suffering a $212-million budget shortfall. The affected departments are Environmental Affairs (EAD) and Human Services. “The only way to break the cycle of endemic budget shortfalls is with a long-term strategy to maximize efficiency and revenue,” he said. “In the face of continued budget shortfalls, our job now is to find ways to deliver City services cheaper, smarter, and more efficiently.”
In turn, Villaraigosa is creating the Mayor’s Office of Energy, Environment and Sustainability, which will "drive environmental sustainability throughout the City and provide oversight, coordination, and accountability of all city departments," according to press release. "Several key functions and staff members of the EAD will be transferred to the Bureau of Sanitation, Department of Transportation, Building and Safety, and the Department of Water and Power."
Additionally, a "Green Ribbon" panel of experts will be convened to advise the city.
Functions of Human Services, like anti-poverty policy and domestic violence programs, will be transferred to Community Development Department. The Mayor's Office will take on some of its roles, too.
Chatter around City Hall also indicates that the Department of Transportation will be folded, splitting its duties between Planning and the Bureau of Street Services.
Yesterday, the City Council ordered the elimination of 3,000 positions on top of the 1,000 already ordered by Villaraigosa, who applauds the decision, but draws the line at layoffs within the police and fire departments.
However, he is asking all employees, including public safety ones, to take pay cuts. “Every employee, from the mayor on down ought to take a cut," Villaraigosa said. “And that means police, that means fire, that means sanitation, that means every single employee." A citywide 5% pay cut would save the city $150 million, reported the LA Times.
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