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Budget Negotiations Culminate with Union Vote to Keep Existing Contract

Balanced budget means additional layoffs rather than cuts in services

Post Date:06/30/2010 4:00 PM

City services will continue, but with a significantly reduced labor force, it was announced Wednesday.

The announcement follows an earlier vote today by the City’s labor union to reject a potential $742,540 in savings from labor concessions; namely, continuing an existing furlough program and eliminating annual COLA and merit pay increases.

As a result, eliminating 11 positions—eight more than the three that were previously anticipated—will be necessary to balance the budget. The labor savings with layoffs is $974,000.

Mayor Melissa Melendez said, "We are extremely disappointed to be forced into laying off 11 employees. The city council unanimously voted in favor of protecting taxpayer funds."

Affected positions will not be announced until after a management consultation with the City’s labor attorney. A two-week severance package will be given to employees affected by the layoff.

A proposed $27.2 million operating budget was adopted on June 8th by the City Council, though labor negotiations were pending.

As a result of today’s union vote, the City’s budgeted expenses for FY 2010-2011 are $742,540 above projected revenue, forcing additional layoffs to balance the budget.

Negotiations between the City and Labor representatives (LIUNA Local 777) concluded Wednesday as the City’s 60 member union voted in favor of keeping their existing labor memorandum of understanding (MOU) in effect during the fourth and final year of the contract.

The City’s management group has unanimously elected not to accept COLA or merit increases as a budget savings measure of $56,000.

The City Council remains committed to public safety as its number one priority, with police and fire services representing nearly 50% of the budget.

The revised FY2010-11 budget will be balanced through a combination of layoffs and other personnel savings totaling $1.1 million, $1.7 in one-time monies from the Redevelopment Agency, and $436,685 in “rainy day” or supplemental revenue funds, leaving $1.4 in “rainy day” funds that can be spread over the next two or three fiscal years, which are also projected to face revenue shortfalls.

The City’s $3.5 million emergency reserve fund will not be affected in any way, officials say.

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