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82 Jobs Cut as Union Says No to Furloughs : Budget: The losses will include up to 16 layoffs. City revenues are down $8 million, and state funding could decline another $8 million.

June 25, 1992|MARTHA L. WILLMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

GLENDALE — Glendale's largest city employees union narrowly rejected unpaid furloughs Tuesday, and the City Council quickly voted to eliminate 82 staff positions, including layoffs of up to 16 people.

The job cuts were necessary to meet an $8-million reduction in city revenues caused by drops in sales taxes, interest earnings and building permit fees, officials said. The council unanimously approved a $288-million budget for 1992-93; this year's budget is $296 million.

City Finance Director Brian Butler said the staff cuts and layoffs resulting from the recession are about double the number of jobs lost as a result of the passage in 1978 of the Proposition 13 tax limitation initiative.

Layoffs--expected to hit hardest in the parks and recreation, library, refuse collection and street repair departments--are expected to be ordered within 30 days. The budget goes into effect July 1.

Union leaders blamed the negative vote on the fact that city officials were unable to guarantee no layoffs even if the unpaid leave had passed.

More than 61% of city workers voted to take 2.5 days of unpaid leave within the next year in order to avoid layoffs, but the vote fell short of the required two-thirds majority needed to alter a contract that calls for a 3.5% raise in salaries. The voluntary time off would have reduced the net cost of the raises to 2.5%.

Multi-year contracts negotiated with employee groups generally call for yearly raises based on regional indexes of inflation and raises granted to similar groups of public employees in Southern California. Glendale officials had asked that all workers accept reduced raises.

Earlier, the city firefighters union also rejected cost-cutting measures to offset a 4% raise and will face layoffs instead.

Two other employee groups--managers and police officers--accepted pared-down raises of 2.5%. The adopted budget includes no layoffs for those two groups.

Police patrol officers have agreed to work three-day, 12-hour shifts, reducing the cost of overtime pay to the city. Officers will use the remaining four hours in the workweek to make court appearances and complete other duties.

Art Sandoz, president of the Glendale City Employees Assn., which represents about 970 of the city's 1,582 workers, said members "were more than willing" to accept an unpaid furlough to reduce the impact of pay raises but feared that layoffs would result anyway from proposed cuts in state funding to cities.

"City management could not guarantee us that there will be no layoffs," he said.

City Manager David Ramsay and others have warned that Glendale could lose another $8 million in funding under proposals to make up a $10.7-billion gap in the state budget.

Council members said they feel hurt and betrayed by the union vote. "We were all sorely disappointed," Mayor Carl Raggio said. "The result is that there will have to be layoffs. There will be fewer people working for the city of Glendale."

He said the cuts are bound to affect the level of city services. "The population of Glendale is going to have to do more for itself."

A hiring freeze imposed last October and layoffs in the new budget will reduce the number of full-time city positions to 1,566. Butler said laid-off employees will be given first priority for any new vacancies.

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