Close to 160 Los Angeles Police Department employees could be laid off by Jan. 1 under a cost-cutting plan endorsed by city leaders this week, according to a memo that Chief Charlie Beck posted on the department’s internal website.
Beck said the layoffs would involve one police administrator III, a nutritionist, 10 secretaries, 81 senior clerk typists and 66 clerk typists. The positions were selected when the layoffs were first proposed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in the spring and might be modified under current plans, Beck said.
The LAPD has lost 628 civilian employees to budget cuts and early retirement offers since 2009, according to the department.
“I know this is a very stressful time for all and I want to avoid rumors and miscommunication which can only increase the stress level,” he wrote, adding that city workers to be laid off would be notified by the city’s Personnel Department by Dec. 14.
The chief’s memo was in response to warnings this week from Villaraigosa and City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana for the City Council to act quickly to finalize more than 200 layoffs citywide or risk widening an already significant budget deficit – $16.6 million less than half way through the fiscal year.
Santana predicted a budget hole of $216 million for the next fiscal year, which starts in July.
“While we have worked hard to avoid this scenario, the CAO’s report still demonstrates that the city is facing extreme deficits in the General Fund. The department will continue to work with the CAO, the mayor’s staff and City Council during the upcoming weeks to discuss any and all possible
solutions and outcomes,” Beck wrote.
Beck said he is committed to keeping staff informed and ordered the LAPD Office of Administrative Services to update employees weekly until there is a resolution.
In 2010, the union representing nearly 10,000 Los Angeles police officers estimated that every 100 sworn officers that are pulled off regular duties to do desk work means 30 fewer police cars citywide.
A spokesman said the Los Angeles Police Protective League is waiting to see what the City Council does with Villaraigosa’s budget request, “however the League is concerned about how the work will be done because any delays in the department’s `support function’ will definitely affect the ability of officers to respond to law enforcement issues impacting residents and businesses in Los Angeles.”
LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said the cuts would “absolutely” slow down some police work. Commanding officers who lose a secretary will have to perform much of the tedious work of keeping their calendars, managing a barrage of correspondence and other office duties themselves, instead of doing the work of managing public safety, he said.
Most of the clerk typists targeted for layoffs manage and retrieve records for detectives’ investigations and for city attorneys, as well as requests from the public. Smith said the department might have to shut down certain records sections periodically because of a lack of staff to cover the
“It’s going to slow down a lot of the stuff we do,” Smith said. “It’s going to be very difficult for us to continue to provide the same level of service without these key partners.”