Oakland Mayor Quan Proposes At Least 105 Layoffs To Balance Budget

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Oakland Mayor Jean Quan proposed laying off at least 105 city employees Monday to help the city balance its budget in order to cope with the state’s decision to eliminate redevelopment agencies statewide.

Quan said she and City Administrator Deanna Santana are proposing the layoffs because the city must act in order to comply with a recent California Supreme Court ruling that upheld Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision to eliminate redevelopment agencies.

Oakland joined many other cities from around the state who filed suit to try to stop Brown from eliminating the agencies.

Quan said the proposed layoffs are “very tough” and criticized Brown for doing away with the agencies, saying “it will hurt California cities’ ability to grow.”

Santana said it’s likely that more than 105 city employees will lose their jobs but the precise number isn’t yet known because city staff members are still rushing to finalize the details in order to comply with the court ruling.

Santana said the $28 million annually that the city received in redevelopment funds from the state completely funded 159 positions and partially funded another 69 positions so they at least partially paid for a total of 228 jobs.

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:

Quan said the city now expects to have to lay off fewer employees than it originally anticipated because she and Santana are proposing to restructure city government by merging some departments and eliminating administrative services.

“There will be minimal cuts to core services and minimal cuts to police and fire,” Quan said.

She said no sworn personnel in Oakland’s police and fire departments will be laid off but some administrative services in those departments will be consolidated to cut costs.

Quan said there would be no cuts to libraries or services for seniors or the homeless but there will be some cuts to street-cleaning services and recreational programs.

The Oakland City Council will have a special meeting on Wednesday at which Quan and Santana will formally present their plan to balance the budget and make layoffs. The council, which has the power to modify their proposal, is then scheduled to vote on the matter on Jan. 31.

Santana issued layoff notices last week to 2,500 city employees who potentially could have been impacted by the layoffs in order to comply with the required 10-day notice for employees who could lose their jobs. The layoffs will be effective Feb. 3.

Linda Joseph, the field director for Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents many city employees, said “morale among city employees is very low because they’ve already made many sacrifices to help the city balance its budget.”

Joseph said she disagrees with the proposal by Quan and Santana to slash a large number of city employees at this time, saying she doesn’t think Oakland will lose all of its redevelopment money in February.

“I don’t agree with their approach and we don’t have a meeting of the minds,” Joseph said.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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